Made in the ArkLaMiss, science, Ruston, La Tech, Louisiana - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Made in the ArkLaMiss: Turning waste water to electricity

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RUSTON, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - The wet stuff going down your sink and toilet drains could also be flowing through your power lines.

Louisiana Tech University's Dr. Erez Allouche told KNOE 8 News it is possible.

He's the same scientist who introduced us to his "Concrete of the Future" one month ago.

So we headed back there to see this new discovery for ourselves and Allouche introduced us to his team of four graduate and undergrad students.

They have invented the "eVortex Generator."

"We spend a lot of energy pumping water from well to tap and once we open the tap, what happens to that energy?" asked Assistant Professor, Arun Jaganathan. "It's literally energy going down the drain, so we asked ourself this question: How can we retrieve some of those energy back into the grid?"

Allouche, Jaganathan and the rest of the team said they brought that idea to pipe manufacturer, Ipex, three years ago and now the students have more than $200,000 of funding from Ipex and the federal government.

"It is an enhancement to their product," Jaganathan said.

"It is an excellent example of industry, university, government collaboration to develop a new technology that can benefit every town in America," said Allouche.

They used a tower and a water pump to show KNOE 8 News how it works.

"Here, this is the second prototype that we are building," Jaganathan said.

A long white pipe represents pipes carrying waste and storm water from buildings down to a water treatment plant.

Ipex's Vortex System, which looks like a gray bucket, would be built into the pipe on top, whirl pooling the water to remove any stench and make it gather speed.

The system then shoots the water down at a speed of 40 feet per second into the "eVortex," which will have a generator built around its central pipe.

Four blades are spinning the rushing water inside the pipe and that turns into energy in the generator, which supplies electricity.

"If the municipality is able to recover some of that money back, that money can go back into repairing roads, into schools, into police, into essential community needs," said Allouche.

This prototype is working well, so what's the next step?

"Put this technology in a real sewer and test it," Jaganathan said.

And they say municipalities are already lining up.

The "eVortex" is designed to keep money from going down the drain and it's made in the ArkLaMiss.

The graduates running the project said it could be field tested in one year and could be on the market in two or three years.

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