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You probably remember seeing the Archimedes Screw in a high school “simple machines” lesson – it has been used for millennia to raise water short distances as part of irrigation systems.

New England Hydropower Co. of Beverly, Mass., has just opened a hydropower plant in Connecticut that uses an Archimedes screw as the power source – basically, water from the upper end flows down, rotating the screw, rather than going down a tube known as the penstock and spinning a turbine. The company calls it a “slow rotating screw turbine with limited turbulence at the exit” – and most importantly, they say fish can safely pass through the screw, whereas they get chewed up by turbine blades.

Slow rotation can mean less power output – this is just a 200-kilowatt system – but it’s a really interesting idea.

(This has nothing to do with Archimedes Plutonium) (If you understand that sentence, you’re not young.)

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