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Why would this not technically work?

Let’s say there is an average sized water tower at the center of an average sized town. Now let’s say an atmospheric water generator can generate enough water to fill the tank in a reasonably short amount of time. Further, let’s say there was a large solid straight rod with teeth in it like a track that is attached to the underside of the tank and vertical. When the tank fills up, the tank is lowered to the ground. The solid rod is pushed down and on the bottom of the tower, there is a rotor and a stator that the rod turns to generate electricity. When the tank is at the ground, it is emptied and used throughout the town. However, now the tank can more easily be lifted back up. Thus, energy can be used for the town. This is a conversion of gravitational potential energy into electrical energy. What’s more, a wind turbine can be attached to this water tower in such a way that when the tank is lowered, the wind turbine turns. A belt could be attached to a wheel at the bottom of the tower and the axle of the turbine. When the turbine turns, another belt can be attached to the ends of the blades of the turbine and another rotor and stator to act as a complex machine and generate even more electricity. Even more further, the tower can be built double the height of an ordinary water tower so that the tank can be lowered half way to generate electricity, and the other half can be used to pressurize the water to residences. Why wouldn’t this work?



The atmospheric water generator could be passive meaning it doesn’t use gas, diesel, or electricity to run it. It just runs naturally off of itself. Forget about the wind turbine. Every other thing you said that is a problem for this to work doesn’t seem like it is a nail in the coffin. It may be tough to do but I do think it’s doable.

Update 2:

Average water tower holds about 5.5 million liters of water. That’s a mass of about 5.5 million kg. Average height of water towers is 45 m. By mgh, that’s 2.4 billion joules that can be generated in one day if the tank gets filled once per day. The average house uses about 1200 joules of electric energy per day. That’s 2 million houses this tower can run in one day. 

Update 3:

Actually I made a small mistake near the end of my last update that made everything else at the end wrong lol. The average house uses about 100,000,000 joules of electric energy per day. Which means a water tower could run 26 homes in one day. That is, if it can only fill the tank up once per day. If it can do more than that then there would be more. How would making this all over the world affect the climate and average humidity of regions on earth over periods of time?

7 Answers

  • Mr. P
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Well you asked so I will answer why this won't work:

    Water towers are there to provide a steady water pressure to a town with no natural water reservoir at a convenient height/ head.

    Raising and lowering a container of water is more difficult than raising water alone, because of friction, wear, and system losses. 

    If you are using wind turbines, you may as well use more of them somewhere else.

     The smart thing to do is to use wind turbines during peak demand, and in off-peak times use the excess power to pump water into a high storage reservoir to use later in a turbine or use it to split water into oxygen and Hydrogen that can be stored for later use in gas generators or just pumped into town gas to boost that. You can bottle the oxygen for industrial use. 

    But it is good to keep thinking of possibilities. You only need one good solution during your lifetime to make a difference. 

  • 1 month ago

    This is a Rube Goldberg Machine.

    1 you have to pump the water up to the tank. This takes more energy than you can extract from the generator at the bottom.

  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    First of all, there is no such thing as "an atmospheric water generator"  so your proposal fails right there.  

    The way to remove moisture from the air is to cool it enough that the moisture precipitates out.  That's the condensate you see dripping out of air conditioners on a hot, muggy day.  Even in a humid climate you need to cool an awful lot of air to fill a 5.5 million liter tank in a day,  That much cooling requires orders of magnitude more energy than you get by lowering the tank 45 meters.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You have a few problems.  The source for this energy to fill up your 5.5 million liter tank is what now?   The height of water towers are typically made so there is sufficient water pressure all over town, including the highest elevations.  The other problem you have is the second law of thermodynamics.   This energy you talk about has to be converted from water pressure to electricity if you want to use it on the grid.  All those belts you talk about aren't generating more electricity, they are consuming it.  Best of luck.  Take some mechanics classes and thermodynamics.  They will explain alot.

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  • 1 month ago

    Assuming the "atmospheric water generator" was natural precipitation...  What you seem to be describing is a very inefficient form of hydroelectric power. 

    If your "atmospheric water generator" is artificial, then you are thinking over unity, and that never works. 

  • John
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I'm not a real engineer (not an engineer, really). And I don't actually follow what it is that you are saying. Something about lifting a 5.5 million kg weight every day.

    If an "average" water tower could power 2 million homes a day in any way you can be sure that the world would be doing it. I'd suggest you re-evaluate your calculations.

  • 1 month ago

    1. falling tank to energy conversion: This could work, however you have to subtract the energy needed to condense the water from the atmosphere and energy required to lift the tank.  The source of the energy is actually solar, the heat of the sun vaporizes liquid water into the air. Also, if you lower the tank to the ground, it may not have enough pressure to deliver the water to the users in the town.  So you will have to pump it, an energy loss.

    2. This is more of a problem.  If the wind is not blowing, you will lose energy by blowing wind from the wind turbine.

    3. Adding the belt to another rotor and stator still does not add any source of energy, that is still the dropping water tank.  Further, the additional machinery adds more mechanical loss and actually less electricity is generated.

    4.  Double the height.  Possible, but the cost of doubling the height, the maintenance and the electric generator might cost more than the electricity you get from it.

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