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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $1 million to a research team led by Missouri S&T to study ways to better harness the power of water as an energy source. Dr. Rui Bo, an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, is the lead investigator. He says the research involves a special plant that both generates and consumes energy.
About 10% of electricity in the U.S. is created by moving water, or hydropower, according to the DOE’s Hydropower Vision report, which also found great potential in improving hydropower systems to meet more U.S. energy needs. Now the DOE is investing about $7.5 million into research projects to improve hydropower and reduce electricity costs for consumers.
Part of that investment comes in the form of a $999,554 grant to the Missouri S&T research team to improve and evaluate better models for pumped storage hydropower (PSH) – a subset of hydropower that uses water storage in reservoirs to generate energy.
“A pumped storage hydro plant is a special plant that can both generate electricity and consume electricity,” Bo says.