‘Electric Truck Hydropower’ – A Real Breakthrough or a New Sokal Hoax?

Is this real or did the journal: Energy, get punked? For those of you who are unfamiliar, see the Sokal affair. HT/Mike B

Electric Truck Hydropower, a flexible solution to hydropower in mountainous regions

Julian DavidHuntab JakubJuraszc BehnamZakeriad AndreasNascimentob SamuelCrosse Carla Schwengber tenCatenf Diego Augustode Jesus Pachecok PharimaPongpairojg Walter LealFilhoh Fernanda Munari CaputoToméi RodrigoSennej Bas vanRuijvena

Under a Creative Commons license


  • Innovative hydropower generation alternative.
  • Levelized cost of the electricity truck hydropower is 30–100 USD/MWh.
  • The electricity generation world potential for the technology is estimated to be 1.2 PWh per year.
  • Asia and South America have the highest potential for ETH.

1. Introduction

Hydropower has seen continuous innovation for more than a century. For instance, Francis turbines are undergoing several innovations in their control and operation (X-blade, self-aeration, draft tube injection) [1]. Kaplan turbines have seen evolutions in more fish friendly turbines [2]. A lot of novel low head hydropower converters have been introduced. Also new approaches for the modernization of existing plants, such as dam heightening [3], new electrical equipment, digitalization [4] and floating PV [5].

Currently, hydropower is limited to systems with two set water levels connected via canals, tunnels, and penstocks, and a turbine generation system converts the potential energy of the water into electricity (Fig. 1). In order to guarantee a large installed capacity and capacity factors higher than 30–40%, the catchment area must be high. This significantly reduces the potential of the technology in steep mountainous regions [6]. Additionally, storage reservoirs might also be required to regulate the flow of the river [7] to increase the capacity factor and economic viability of the plant. Furthermore, projected climate change scenarios indicate significant variation in hydropower potential with different regions alternately experiencing decrease and increase in potential [[8][9][10][11][12]]. This further adds to financial uncertainty of projects. Despite the above mentioned complexity of hydropower development its role in the power system remains crucial [13] and is an established facilitator for the multipurpose uses of water, such as flood and drought mitigation, water storage, fishery, leisure, and for variable renewable energy sources’ integration to the grid, as shown for example in the case study of West Africa [14]. Furthermore, in multiple studies the hydropower with reservoir became a foundation for solar-hydro [15,16], wind-hydro [6,17] and wind-solar-hydro [18] complementary operation.

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Fig. 1. Conventional hydropower in steep mountains. Kaprun hydropower and pumped storage plant in Austria. The plant consists of high dams and tunnels to increase the catchment area of the plant and to connect to the Salzach River and the lower reservoir Zeller See.

In steep mountainous regions, the potential energy from a small water stream is high due to the large generation heads available. However, the catchment area for these streams is small, which results in a highly variable river flow [19], additionally highly susceptible to climate change [20] implying that a conventional hydropower plant would have low capacity factor and generation capacities, which would not guarantee a return for the investment. In such cases, this paper proposes the use of Electric Truck Hydropower as an alternative to conventional hydropower.

2. Electric truck hydropower (ETH)

We propose a more flexible alternative for hydropower that features electric trucks. The proposed system consists of using existing road infrastructure that crosses mountain ranges to transport water down the mountain in electricity truck containers, transform the potential energy of the water into electricity with the regenerative braking of the truck and use this electricity to charge the battery of the truck. The ideal configuration of the ETH system is in mountainous regions with steep roads, where the same electrical trucks can be used to generate hydropower from different sites. This increases the chances that there will be water available to generate hydropower and thus increases the capacity factor of the system. Another benefit of the system is that only a small barrier is required to abstract water from the river, there is no requirement for reservoirs to regulate the flow of the river. The reservoirs of this system are containers parked close to a river stream on the mountain, which are filled up with water extracted from the river. After the container is filled up, it is ready to be transported down the mountain and to generate hydropower. When the truck reaches the base of the mountain range, the container is parked close to the river, and the water in the container is slowly returned to the river to minimise the impact on the aquatic life. A similar case to ETH happens in the mining industry in Poland, where the extracted minerals are transported down a mountain with electric trucks, and each truck can generate up to 200 kWh per day [31].

The proposed system is divided into four main components, which are: the electric truck, water containers, the charge site and the discharge site, as shown in Fig. 2a. 1) The electric trucks have two main objectives, one of which is to transport water from the charged sites on the mountain to the discharge site. The other is to generate electricity by controlling the descending speed of the truck full of water, charging the battery in the truck. 2) The containers are used to continuously store water from the river in batches on the top of the mountain. It also continuously empties the water back to the river at the discharge site. It is important that the water extraction and release be continuous to reduce the impact of the system on the river flow. 3) The charge sites are the locations where water is extracted from the river and introduced to the containers. They are located in the upper part of the mountain range, on tributary rivers, and/or intermediate locations, to increase the flexibility of the system. The electric truck enters the charge site with an empty container, leaves it to be filled with water, picks a container filled with water, and drives down the mountain. In cold regions, the charge sites on the top of the mountain might not be utilized, as the water in the river might freeze, and icy roads reduce the grip on the tires on the road and the efficiency of the system. 4) The discharge site is where water is removed from the truck and returned to the river. The electric truck enters the discharge site with a container full of water, leaves it to be emptied, collects an empty container, and drives up the mountain. The charged battery is replaced by a discharged battery. The battery is not fully discharged, as the truck requires energy to drive up the mountain with an empty container. The discharge site should have a robust connection to the national grid to allow the site to supply electricity to the grid [32]. During periods with low river flow, the battery packs will stop feeding electricity to the grid and will operate as a grid energy storage solution. Alternatively, the electric trucks can be used to transport goods.

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Fig. 2. Electric truck hydropower system. (a) axial description of the system where the empty truck moves up the mountain to collect the containers filled with water, and the truck with the full container goes down the mountain generating electricity. (b) aerial view of the ETH system compared with an existing hydropower project, highlighting the flexibility of ETH systems.

3. Methodology

The methodological framework used to estimate the global potential for hydropower electric trucks in this paper is described in Fig. 3. Each step of the methodology is detailed in the subsections below and highlighted in italics to facilitate the comprehension of the methodology description.

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Fig. 3. Methodology to calculate the ETH global potential.

Step 1: ETH energy efficiency estimation. The Electric truck description applied in this paper is presented in Table 1. The proposed electric truck in this case study is taken from Ref. [33]. The costs and potential for ETH, as estimated in this paper applies today’s electric truck costs. Note that these costs are expected to reduce significantly in the future. Given that the truck has the flexibility to move to mountains where it is raining or water is melting, the truck will operate at 70% capacity. Half of the time, the truck is moving up the mountain and the other half moving down the mountain, thus, the assumed generation capacity factor of an electric truck is 35%.

Table 1. Electric truck description [33].

ManufacturerNingbo Berzon Hida Trading Co.
Truck and battery cost (USD)145,000 USD
NEDC Max. Range (km)500
Range fully loaded and 40 km/h (km)200
Battery warranty (km)80,000
Dimensions (m)L 6500 x W 2500 x H 3600
Economic speed (km/h)30–50
Total traction mass (kg)33,100
Battery weight (kg)1000
Curb weight (kg)9930
Water capacity (kg)23,170
Battery capacity (kWh)250
Motor typePermanent magnet synchronous motor
Drive motor rated power (KW)250
Drive motor rates speed (r/min)1195
Drive motor rated torque (N.M)2000
Drive motor peak power (KW)350
Drive motor peak speed (r/min)3400
Drive motor peak torque (N.M)3500
Rolling resistance coefficient0.01
Drag coefficient0.36
Truck frontal area (m2)9.13
Front axle bearing (tons)6.5
Rear axle bearing (tons)11.5
Rear axle ratio4.1
Interest rate (%)4.0

The theory behind the electricity truck hydropower concept can be derived from Eqs. (1)(2)(3). Eq. (1) shows the electric truck hydropower potential (ETH in J). Eq. (2) calculates the potential energy that can be extracted from the system (E in J), and Eq. (3) calculates the energy losses in the truck, which is mainly related to the rolling resistance losses of the tires and the aerodynamic friction drag losses in the truck (L in J).



where E is the potential energy of the system (in J), m is the mass of water added to the container in the upper water catchment location (in kg), h is the altitude difference between the charge site and the discharge site (in m), g is the acceleration of gravity and equal to 9,81 m/s2, and b is the battery’s energy storage efficiency cycle, assumed to be 90%. M is the efficiency of electric motor and transmission system, assumed to be 90% [34].

where, μ is the rolling resistance coefficient, between the tires and road, assumed to be 0.01 [35]. w is the mass of the truck with or without water, moving down and up a mountain respectively (in kg). The empty truck goes up the mountain with 9930 kg, but it goes down the mountain filled with water with 33,100 kg. In other words, the truck weight going up is 30% of the weight of the truck going down. CD is the drag coefficient, assumed to be 0.36 [36], ρ is the air density, assumed to be 1.275 kg/m3 A is the frontal area of the truck (in m2). V is the velocity of the truck (in m/s). s is the road slope gradient (in %); for example, a slope gradient of 15% means a 1 m vertical and 6.7 m horizontal distance. The slope gradient is high because the system is designed to operate on existing steep roads. Note that Equation (3) assumes that the mountain roads are smooth.

Step 2: ETH generation cost estimation. The main costs parameters are described in Table 1 (ETH component costs). The assumed capacity factor for the trucks is 35% (assuming that half of the time the trucks are moving up the mountains, the capacity factor of the trucks is 70%). The Lifetime of the trucks is assumed to be limited to the mileage of the truck, which is 1.600.000 km. This results in a lifetime of 6.5 if it operates at a speed of 40 km/h. Given that the truck is expected to operate for 7 years, the lifetime of the battery is assumed to be the same as the truck. The global estimate for ETH generation costs is set for a range of velocities and road slope gradients. For each available road slope, the truck velocity that results in the minimum generation cost is selected.

Step 3: Data collection. The data applied in the methodology to estimate the global potential for ETH are global topographic, road network and hydrological (run-off). This data is detailed in Table 2. The topographic data used is the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) developed by NASA [37]. It has a 3 arc seconds (∼90 × 90 m) resolution. The average altitude is used to reduce the resolution to 5 arc minutes resolution (∼8 × 8km) to compare with the available road infrastructure data. This data is used to find the altitude difference between two connected locations and to estimate the road slope. The road infrastructure data used is the Global Roads Inventory Project (GRIP) developed by GLOBIO [38]. The unit of the data is the total road density in m/km2. This unit is transformed into a road index by applying a logarithm with a base of 10. The run-off data used is the ERA5 developed by ECMWF [39]. The data consists of land monthly average run-off data from 1981 to the present, the exact data entered in the website is (“Monthly average reanalysis”, “2020”, “January” to “December”, “Surface runoff”, “Whole available region” and “NetCDF”).

Table 2. Data input to the model.

DataAvailable resolutionApplied resolutionReference
Topography (SRTM)3 arc seconds (∼90 × 90 m)5 arc minutes (∼8 × 8km)[37]
Road infrastructure (GRIP)5 arc minutes (∼8 × 8km)5 arc minutes (∼8 × 8km)[38]
Run-off data (ECMWF)6 arc minutes (∼10 × 10km)5 arc minutes (∼8 × 8km)[39]

Step 4: ETH global potential. There are three main limitations to the potential for ETH. The first and most important is the change in topography, which is described in Fig. 3 and is used to estimate the road slope. By combining the road slope with the existing road infrastructure, one can estimate the ETH global road potential. Then the water availability for ETH can restrict the road potential and the existing amount of water available for hydropower. The equation applied to estimate the ETH global potential is described in Eq. (5). The potential for ETH is estimated in a resolution of 5 arc minutes (∼8 × 8km). To better present the results the ETH potential in a 1-degree resolution is summed.

where P is the ETH generation potential for the point under analysis (PUA) in a 5 min resolution (in GWh), i is one combination between the PUA and a point surrounding it (PSI), n is the number of PSI surrounding PUA, which is equal to 8 (Fig. 3 b). G is the ETH generation potential of each road segment in GWh per year and is a function of S, R and H. S is the road slope applied, which is a function of the minimum theoretical road slope. This equation was created comparing the real road slope of existing roads in different countries with different observed minimum theoretical road slopes. ΔH is the minimum height difference between PUA and PSI. D is the horizontal distance between PUA and PSI. At the equator, the distance is equal to 8 km, and it decreases with the change in latitude away from the equator. The total distance travelled by the truck is equal to D divided by the slope. R is the road infrastructure connecting PUA and PSI. It consists of the logarithm in the tenth base of the data from GRIP in m/km2 and varies from ∼0 to 5. The impact of each element of the road infrastructure on the ETH potential is shown in Table 3. The traffic in the mountain roads and the O&M of the roads that are continuously used by heavy trucks are not included in the cost analysis. W is the annual average superficial run-off in the PSI, which limits the potential for ETH according to the water available to be used for hydropower, as shown in Table 3. The amount of water assumed to estimate the potential for hydropower is 10% of the surface flow in the rivers. This is a small amount that does not have a large impact on the aquatic life or the river but still allows the trucks to maintain a large generation capacity of the system. The time required to fill the container with water will depend on the river flowrate and the number of trucks moving up and down the mountain. Assuming a storage capacity of 23 m3 and a flowrate of 0.1 m3/s, it takes 4 min to fill up the container. The potential for ETH is only considered if the levelized cost of electricity (C), which are a function of the road slope applied, are lower than 200 USD/MWh.

Table 3. Road limits and assumptions used in the model.

4. Results

Applying the methodology described in the methods section and Fig. 3 and using data on topography [37], hydrological run-off [39], and road infrastructure [38] (Fig. 4a,b, c and Table 2), the results presented in Fig. 4 were found. The topographic data is used to estimate the minimum theoretical road slope. To consider road curves, the function in Fig. 4d is applied to find the road slope applied. A limit of 15% road slope was found in the analysis of the road aiming to cross steep mountains. This limit is applied due to high road maintenance costs, limits in the truck capacity to carry a load, and due to icy roads in high mountains or cold locations. As the minimum theoretical road slope in the topographical data with 5 min resolution does not surpass 20%, the maximum road slope gradient applied to estimate the global potential for ETH is 12%, as shown in Fig. 4f. The most important parameter that impacts both the efficiency and levelized cost of generation in ETH systems is the road slope gradient of the road (Fig. 4e,g). The efficiency of the ETH system varies from 68% with a road slope of 15% and a speed of 40 km/h, to 35% with a road slope of 5% and speed of 60 km/h (Fig. 4e). As shown in Fig. 4h, the minimum levelized cost of ETH is 30 USD/MWh and is focused on steep mountains. The estimated potential of ETH is presented in Fig. 4i. It shows that some locations in the Andes and the Himalayas have the potential to generate 15 TWh per year in a 1-degree resolution. Fig. 4j presents the potential for ETH divided into seven different continents in cost curves, assuming a generation cost lower than 100 USD/MWh. The continent with the highest potential is Asia with 617 TWh, South America with 466 TWh, Central America with 65 TWh, Europe with 56 TWh, Africa with 17 TWh, North America with 5 TWh, and Australia with 0.7 TWh. The global potential for ETH is estimated to be 1226 TWh.

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Fig. 4. World potential for electric truck hydropower. (a) Topographic data (SRTM), 5 arc mins resolution. (b) Surface runoff data (ERA5), 6 arc mins resolution. (c) Road infrastructure (GRIP), 5 arc mins resolution. (d) Conversion of minimum ETH generation road slope into road slope applied. (e) ETH system efficiency at different road slope gradients and speeds. (f) Road slope gradient applied in a 1 arc degree resolution. (g) ETH levelized cost with road slope. (h) Minimum ETH generation costs of the region, 1 arc degree resolution. (i) Maximum ETH potential of the region, 1 arc degree resolution. (j) ETH cost vs potential curve of different continents.

Table 4 presents the ETH levelized cost of generation in USD/MWh. The truck speed that results in the lower ETH levelized cost varies with each road slope. The levelized cost applied in the paper are the ones highlighted in green. The occasions where the slope is high and electric trucks would not have the power or breaking capacity to drive at high speeds up and down a mountain are highlighted in red. Table 3 presents the road limits and assumptions used in the model. It assumes that the roads are also used for other purposes and the potential use of the road for ETH is limited to the velocity, number of trucks per hour and water availability.

Table 4. ETH levelized cost of generation in USD/MWh.

5. Discussion

This system considers that the weight of the empty truck is 30% of the truck filled with water, with its equivalent to the specification of the truck used as the basis for this study [33]. Accordingly, reducing the curb weight of the truck could significantly increase the efficiency of the system and lower the generation costs. Alternatives to reduce the weight of the truck include using aluminium or carbon fibre instead of steel. With trucks being operated autonomously in the future, they could be built without the front section, which could further reduce the curb weight of the truck and the efficiency of ETH systems. The energy storage capacity of the battery should be similar to the amount of energy generated with the ETH system, with the intent of minimising the weight of the truck’s battery pack. Another optimized option to further reduce the weight of the truck is to use composite structural batteries (e.g., using modified carbon fibres) which increase the recharge mileage and have potential to substantially to reduce the weight of electric-powered systems [50,51]. This study assumes that the electric truck is autonomous, which significantly reduces the fixed costs of the system.

With the intent of increasing the applicability and viability of the electricity truck hydropower, the trucks could be built with a water tank that varies in volume according to the truckload (Fig. 5 a b). For example, if the truck volume is only half loaded, the other half of the truck cargo volume could be filled with water on the top of a mountain to charge the battery of the truck on the way down. When the truck reaches the bottom of the mountain, it will then empty the water in a discharge station and continue driving with the cargo, but without water. Apart from generating hydropower, the water input to the truck could be cooled or heated up before being added to the truck to provide cooling or heating services to the load. Being thereby a multipurpose facility as it can be for example realized for seawater used both for fresh water provision (through desalination) and cooling [49]. In the case of cooling services, the truck could also be filled with ice slurry, which would contribute to a higher cooling capacity due to the phase change of water. Note that the introduction of ice slurry is not appropriate for locations with temperatures below 0 °C, because the ice slurry would freeze, which would make it difficult to unload the water when the tank reaches the bottom of the mountain. Another option is to connect another wagon to the truck filled with water (Fig. 5 c).

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Fig. 5. Hybrid cargo, hydropower truck. (a) fully loaded with cargo and empty water tank. (b) cargo and water tank partly loaded. (c) empty cargo and fully loaded tank.

Recently developed electric vehicles can store four to six cases with rear seats unfolded, and 14 to 16 cases with rear seats folded [48], as shown in Fig. 6 a,b. The dimensions of the cases are 55 cm × 35 cm x 22 cm and weigh 42 kg each when full of water. Table 5 presents the amount of energy that can be regenerated with an electricity car full of water. It assumes that 60% of the energy that would be wasted to control the speed of the electric car going down a 2000 m mountain and is turned into electricity to charge the battery of the car. Assuming the car has a battery charge of 50 kWh, the car without water will charge around 10% of its battery. If the car has an additional 677 kg of water, it will charge 15% of its battery. This charge difference is not substantial, mainly because cars have a limited volume to store water.

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Fig. 6. Number of cases that fit in an electric car. (a) with rear seats unfolded, (b) with rear seats folded [48].

Table 5. Electric vehicle with and without suitcases.

Car arrangementCar weight (kg)Car charge (%)
Without water161110.53594
With 6 suitcases with water186512.19775
With 16 suitcases with water228914.96744

Apart from providing hydropower, the system can also provide cooling and water delivery services to customers below the mountain. Table 6 presents the difference in energy potential for electric truck hydropower and cooling potential at different generation heights. The hybrid hydropower and cooling electric truck arrangement can be designed to store cooling energy from the top of a mountain on weekly, monthly, or seasonal scales. The seasonal scale is the one with the highest potential, which stores cold temperatures during the winter and uses it during the summer. An interesting case study for this is to freeze water in containers in the mountains surrounding the city of Phoenix, Arizona, and during the summer use the ice for cooling in the city.

Table 6. Hybrid hydropower and cooling electricity truck potential compared to the cooling services.

ETH generation head (m)Hydropower (Wh/kg)Cooling with hydropowera (Wh/kg)Cooling with ice (Wh/kg)Share of cooling energy compared with hydropower (%)

aAssuming a refrigeration system with a COP of 4.

Table 7 presents a comparison of different aspects between electric truck hydropower generation and conventional hydropower.

Table 7. Comparison between electric truck hydropower generation and conventional hydropower.

CharacteristicConventional hydropowerElectric truck hydropower
Location flexibilityLow: The plant will always operate in the same location.High: The trucks can move to different mountains according to water availability.
Head flexibilityLow: The altitude at which the water enters and leaves the system is fixedHigh: The head where the water is caught varies in different seasons or with weather events.
Capacity factor50%: The plant is designed to have a certain capacity factor, but there are limited mountains that can guarantee a high-capacity factor. Water wheels, Archimedes screw and small Pelton turbines are examples of flexible turbines that can handle variable flows.35%: Given the need to move up and down, the truck is not available at all times in generation mode.
Generation Efficiency90%: The efficiency of conventional hydropower plants is very high.30–60%: The efficiency of electric truck hydropower varies with the driving speed and the road slops, and is shown in Fig. 4e.
Storage reservoirsRequired to regulate the river flow and increase the capacity factor of the system. Typically, in high mountains there are waterfalls, so fish migration problem does not exist naturally, and small barriers are generally built-in the proximity of these falls, and also serve as hydraulic structures to stabilize the river bed,Not required as the trucks can move to where it is raining, or ice is melting.
ETH can only replace very small hydropower plants. Hydropower plants in high mountains are generally installed to satisfy peak demand energy request.
Seasonal storageHydropower and pumped hydropower storage reservoirs can provide seasonal energy and water storage [[40][41][42][43][44]].Electricity truck hydropower does not provide seasonal storage, due to its limited storage capacity. Other technologies could complement its lack of seasonal storage [[45][46][47]].
ApplicabilityLarge rivers with high catchment areasSmall rivers with small catchment areas.
ModularityNot modular. Each project is different from the other. The larger the volume of water, the lower the costs.Modular. The generation capacity depends on the number of electric trunks in the system. This is particularly interesting in isolated areas where the demand for electricity is small.
MultipurposeYes. Conventional hydropower also provides water storage, flood and drought mitigation, fishery and leisureYes. Apart from generating energy, the trucks can supply water and cooling services.
Lifetime40–100 years3–10 years
CAPEXHigh (1000–5000 USD/kW)Low (200–500 USD/kW)
OPEXLow (5% of investment costs per year)Medium (15% of investment costs per year)
Levelized cost50-200 USD/MWh30-100 USD/MWh

6. Conclusions

It is difficult to harness the hydropower potential of a mountain with conventional technologies because of their rigid structure, high investment costs (particularly for small capacity projects), operational and head inflexibility, and the need for storage reservoirs and non-modularity (Table 7). Even though conventional hydropower systems have long lifetimes (40–100 years) and ETH projects have short ones (3–10), the CAPEX and levelized costs of conventional hydropower projects (1000–5000 USD/kW and 50–200 USD/MWh) are higher than for ETH projects (200–500 USD/kW and 30–100 USD/MWh). Given that the ETH system is already a competitive electricity generation alternative with existing technology, its cost is expected to further reduce [52] with expected technological improvements in the near future. Results show that the lower the truck speed, the fewer are the energy losses, but the least electricity is generated per year. The greater the speed, the greater are the losses, but the generation is greater per year. As the ETH system should achieve a short payback time, the speed of the truck should be as high as possible to maximise the returns in the investment.

Mountain regions are characterised by high precipitation, as the high mountain relief results in strong upward air flows, cooling the air and condensing moisture from it as rain or snow. Given the rocky soil characteristics of mountain areas, little of this water is absorbed. Thus, where the precipitation falls in liquid form, there is high surface run-off directly to river. River flows will be especially high in springtime when melting of precipitation stored in frozen form over winter occurs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first occasion that a flexible low-carbon hydropower-generation system of low technology complexity integrating electrical trucks is examined. It is possible to derive from our study future opportunities to integrate the proposed system with PV and wind energy systems [53], contributing with the decarbonisation of power generation.

Data availability

The spreadsheet with efficiency and economic calculations and the global potential for ETH model applied in the paper can be downloaded from https://github.com/JulianHunt4/Electric-Truck-Hydropower.

Credit author statement

Julian David Hunt, Jakub Jurasz, Behnam Zaker, Andreas Nascimento, Samuel Cross, Carla Schwengber ten Caten, Diego Augusto de Jesus Pacheco, Pharima Pongpairo, Walter Leal Filho, Fernanda Munari Caputo Tomé, Rodrigo Senne, Bas van Ruijven

Author contributions

Conceptualization, J.H., J.J.; methodology, B.Z., A.N; formal analysis, S.C.; investigation, C.C.; data curation, D.P.; writing—original draft preparation, J.H.; writing—review and editing, B.Z.; visualization, P.P.; project administration, W.F., B.R.; funding acquisition, A.N.; resources, F.T.; software, R.S. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This research was funded by National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) through the ANP Human Resources Program for the Oil and Gas Sector Gas – PRH-ANP/MCTI, in particular PRH-ANP 53.1 UFES, for all the financial support received through the grant.


For references see original article source.

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Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 6:13 am

Rube Goldberg lives!

mark from the midwest
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 6:23 am

Beat me to it, this could be entered into one of the many Rube Goldberg Machine competitions, it’s a sure winner.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  mark from the midwest
March 9, 2022 10:35 am

“Somebody is pulling on my leg.”– Gru

Allan MacRae
Reply to  mark from the midwest
March 9, 2022 10:38 am

“Somebody is pulling on my leg.”– Gru

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Allan MacRae
March 9, 2022 11:01 am

Apologies for double-post.
“Somebody is pulling on both my legs.”

James Bull
Reply to  Allan MacRae
March 10, 2022 11:26 pm

I have this lovely bridge for sale. I promise I’m not a Nigerian business man!

James Bull

Gary Pearse
Reply to  mark from the midwest
March 9, 2022 10:50 am

There are lots of things wrong with this idea. An immediate one is why wouldn’t they configure the truck differently than a gasoline truck. They have a conventional spacious cab with room for a couple of passengers. They could with redesign improve the load/tare wt. ratio gaining perhaps 15%.

The biggest no-no is the idea of sharing the road with other users. This is a guarantee of trouble, legal and operational. I dont believe such a mix of commercial and public use would be permitted in any developed country.

There is a big ‘tell’ in this. It suggests that a dedicated roadway which the entity itself has to maintain, might be the straw that breaks the economic camel’s back. This type of brainwave comes about and when you get down to the pen and paper you look for mitigating factors to keep it alive when reality eats away at the budget.

Probably the fixation on batteries takes the mind hostage in the new dream world. An old fashioned problem solving engineer would likely look at possibilities for “steep hydro”. Maybe a large diameter pipe along the steam bank with a turbine inside (possibly two stages and two tubines). Or, instead of trucks, a multi-tank tramline circuit (which I mentioned below) or monorail circuit looping top to bottom

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 10:54 am

Oh and BTW they seem to think returning the water downstream to the river is some kind of innovation. Ordinary hydro does it too. What alternative did the have in mind

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 1:48 pm

Perpetual motion !

4E Douglas
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 6:37 am

History is full of such miracle devices. None have worked.
AGW has given credibility to hare brained schemes such as this. Add grant money and investors and it will work.

Reply to  4E Douglas
March 9, 2022 4:07 pm

Theranos was only found guilty on 1 count of Investor FRAUD out of 11 charges. In America … it’s Investor BEWARE. You’re on your own. Get in on the ground floor of the next BIG thing!! Or get a really painful haircut. Hint: The haircut to BIG thing ratio is 10,000-to-1

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 7:03 am

But, but, but … SCIENCE! Math! Calculations! Charts! Innovation! Anyone who would DARE speak against this must be a heretic. Must be anti-science. Must HATE Gaia!

I esp. liked the idea of saving winter ice in Flagstaff which will be trucked to Phoenix in the summer to cool buildings. Kinda reminds me of ‘A million ways to cool our homes in the West’ (violence warning) …

Reply to  Kenji
March 9, 2022 10:37 am

Come on, guys. As Kenji has said, the paper has equations. It’s math. And, of course, it is innovative, so way cool.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 7:10 am

Me too, my first impression as I was reading was Rube Goldberg

Curious George
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 7:35 am

It is worse. This is a harbinger of new, equitable science and engineering. Expect an Executive Order to build a fleet of the Electric Truck Hydropowers. Soon. The planet is burning.

Reply to  Curious George
March 9, 2022 10:19 am

Knowing government bureaucracies, they will first order them for Kansas.

J Wurts
Reply to  H.R.
March 9, 2022 1:30 pm

Or Florida…

Eric H
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 9:27 am

To the authors:
“…what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul…”


Last edited 1 year ago by Eric H
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 9:30 am

Are you old enough to remember the old “Mouse Trap!” board game from the 1960s? That was actually a much more serious mechanical work producing machine than these “hydro trucks”.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 10:44 am

Yeah, just more green wet-dreams. Actually it’s kinda sad. Like has been said, “A mind is terrible thing to waste”.

Last edited 1 year ago by beng135
Patrick B
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 9, 2022 11:50 am

Yep. Now the upside that no one seems to have noticed is that these guys are busy doing this silly work and not out designing bridges and buildings or consumer products.

Reply to  Patrick B
March 9, 2022 5:18 pm

Thank God!

Would you want to cross a bridge designed by these clowns?

March 9, 2022 6:17 am

April fool’s accidentally got published a little early.

If it isn’t satire, they need to add the cost of labor to their model. Driving heavy trucks in mountains is serious business.

Also, tires. Regenerative breaking goes through tires.

Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 6:37 am

That and the road upkeep and the risk of accidents … another stupid idea but it’s green 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Reply to  LdB
March 9, 2022 7:53 am

Green ideas are necessarily stupid since it takes ignorant stupidity for anyone to buy into the demonization of CO2 perpetrated by the IPCC/UNFCCC whose ONLY purpose is to justify a massive transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world under the guise of climate reparations.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 9, 2022 8:15 am

I have no problem with transferring some wealth, but let’s do it in smart ways, not with unreliable energy. We should be building real power plants in Africa and India, making friends and improving the lot of humankind.

Reply to  Thomas
March 9, 2022 5:46 pm

Africa: As long as there is no stable government, building anything is just folly.

The JFK Medical Center was built at the request of Liberian President William V.S. Tubman, whose 1961 visit with U.S. President John F. Kennedy laid the groundwork for USAID funding for a national medical center in Liberia. The project was funded with a $6.8 million loan and $9.2 million in grants from USAID and a $1 million contribution from the Liberian Government. Construction began in 1965 and the facility opened on July 27, 1971.

The facility sustained heavy damage over the 23-year period of civil unrest that began with the 1980 coup led by Samuel Doe and lasted until 2003. The main hospital, which at five stories is one of the tallest structures in the vicinity, was at one point occupied by rebel forces and used as a machine gun outpost

India: Any country having the resources for nuclear bomb development and a space program doesn’t need someone else to pay for power plants.

It’s time to put time limits on foreign aid and let countries sink or swim. After more than a half a century of aid, nothing has changed.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 9, 2022 9:38 am

Are you sure the intention is not the exact opposite? I couldn’t imagine a more evil and cynical way of preventing the underdeveloped world ever attaining a reasonable level of prosperity than by denying it the use of the very fuels which have lifted us out of ill health and poverty by running the climate doom narrative to them and the gullible in Europe and North America. Those with their snouts deep in the eco- hysteria trough will be quite happy if it also disenfranchises the “ordinary” people here from a decent life they have enjoyed in the last few decades.
Cue the World Bank refusing loans to African nations wanting to develop coal power but happy to take their lithium, cobalt etc at minimal price….

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 9, 2022 9:42 am

China is a developing nation and is clearly the primary beneficiary of this green nonsense.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 9, 2022 5:25 pm

Eventually, someone at the IPCC will say, “Wait a second. If we succeed in transferring wealth from the developed world to the rest of the world, then what? What will happen afterwards?”

Decades of foreign aid indicates they will use the money to buy things, not build things. The money would flow right back to the countries that produce those things, and the developing countries would still be developing countries.

In short, it would be a massive stimulus package for big business. Those running the companies or owning stocks in them would benefit greatly. The middle class taxpayer would end up paying the transfer payments.

Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 8:50 am

No mention of the navigation issues on mountain roads (during winter too?) and assuming straight level constant grades is naïve beyond comprehension.
These metro-eco-loons obviously have even never visited a ski resort.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 9, 2022 1:35 pm

All they have to do – especially if they think this is applicable to third world nations – is watch a few old TV shows. There were offshoots of “Ice Road Truckers” some years back that put their truck drivers on roads in India and (if I recall correctly) Peru.

I grew up in the mountains of Arizona, just below the Mogollon Rim. To shop in the “city” was a trip either Phoenix or Tucson, on roads that were extremely difficult to build. Both of them, until you hit the flats, were pretty much two lane. (I used to scare the devil out of the wife when I would hit the accelerator on my V8 Dodge Ram to get around an ore or acid transport truck in a passing zone that was, charitably, the length of a football field.)

The roads shown on those shows reminded me of the glimpses you can still get of the old roads, before the new ones were built in the 1950s. My parents told me stories of trying to make trips only at night when you could see an oncoming vehicle in time to squeeze over before the single lane parts (if you had to travel in the day, you leaned on the horn approaching every curve).

Old Man Winter
Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 9:48 am

“the speed of the truck should be as high as possible” … high precipitation
… as rain or snow … rocky soil… high surface run-off”

They inadvertently listed reasons it’is a bad idea & yet they still went
forward with it. Maybe they’ll also volunteer to drive these trucks! 😉

Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 9:56 am

Yup, I was going to say that it was an early April fools joke also.
First of all there is no battery system capable of charging fast enough to capture the energy without sacrificing longevity. One would have to use super capacitors which are bulky and expensive per KWH. Secondly is this going to be using public roads? If not the road will add a huge cost to the project. If it uses public roads this will clog them and create dangerous conditions as people try pass these slow heavy trucks. Lastly these trucks would have to discharge into another battery or super cap storage system of higher capacity in order to eliminate the intermittency of the system.

Phil R
Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 10:09 am

I may have missed it because the article was way too long and stoopid so did not read the whole thing, but how do they get the trucks and containers back to the top?

Reply to  vboring
March 9, 2022 5:21 pm

My first thought was that tires rolling heat up, therefore energy lost there.

Then generating through regenerative breaking into batteries, every step losing energy.

Then …….

So, yep, Rube Goldberg.

oeman 50
Reply to  vboring
March 10, 2022 10:35 am

And repairs. Steep driving will take a heavy toll on the drivetrain.

Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 6:25 am

Why not use the batteries at the bottom to make hydrogen to be used in blimps to float the trucks back up the mountain. Better yet, float them up to 50,000 feet and drop them attached to helicopter blades that rotate as they fall and charge the batteries. The batteries then can be transported by blimp to lithium mines to operate lithium refining facilities. All problems solved!

Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 7:08 am


Dave Andrews
Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 7:23 am

Write it up – you’re on a winner!

Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 7:28 am

I like your idea better. It makes much more sense.

Mario Lento
Reply to  TonyL
March 9, 2022 8:25 am

The best thing is that your ideas were clear and communicated with far fewer words.

My goodness, getting through the article looking for the meat was painful.

Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 8:30 am

I imagine you can get a grant…

John the Econ
Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 8:39 am

Brilliant! Invent some math and write it up. Make sure it’s at least 30 or 40 dense pages. Add some pretty graphics. Shop it out, get some grants. Be well-employed for several years while the people who actually produce the goods and services that make the country livable lose their jobs.

Reply to  John the Econ
March 9, 2022 10:07 am

Maybe ask BigOilBob to help write it?

Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 6:27 am

Have the laws of physics changed recently or am I behind things. I realize I know little about “Quantum Physics” but this is what I was taught 60 years ago.

Work is the energy transferred into or out of a system through the action of a force. Work done against gravity can be found using the equation Work equals Force times height or W = Fh. Since F = mg we can use the equation W = mgh. (m = mass, g = gravity, or 9.81 m/s² and h = height).”

How do the account for the energy lost due to friction of the tires, and moving parts, the conversion of kinetic energy to electricity and the conversion of electricity to kinetic energy? Is this explained by the new “Quantum Physics?”

Reply to  Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 6:35 am

They are filling the truck up with water at the top use your formulas and calculate the energy at bottom versus energy at top. The losses would be huge compared to a hydro pipe but the theory is the same.

Is it a good idea … no 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Reply to  Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 7:12 am

Everything else are mere details, unimportant details

Reply to  Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 8:29 am

If the green blob ever acknowledged the limitations of physics, they would necessarily reverse course. Unfortunately, no truth can overcome self righteous indignation driven by a political ideology.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 11:38 am

Winner winner! Chicken Dinner!

This is an exhibition of a perpetual motion machine. The downfall of all perpetual motion machines is friction, hysteresis, and energy transformation inefficiency. They apply here as well.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 9, 2022 1:25 pm

Well, no. This, like all hydroelectric schemes, converts the energy produced by the immense (but very inefficient) steam engine whose “fuel” is the Sun. Still not perpetual motion, but the fuel will last for several million more years.

Not that this scheme is more than a millimeter away from a scheme to make electricity with unicorn farts…

Rich Lentz
Reply to  writing observer
March 9, 2022 5:01 pm

So, are you going to volunteer to drive the first truck down the mountain? And then become a full time driver.
Have you measured the energy necessary to drive the truck up the hill?
I have driven a Volunteer fire co. Tank truck. It is not like driving a sedan or even an SUV. And if you lived in a mountainous area you would have seen the big-rigs with the brakes burnt out, smoking and trying to maintain a safe speed.

Reply to  Rich Lentz
March 9, 2022 6:42 pm

I’ve not driven a big truck. I have eased an SUV down a mountain when a rock took out the fluid line. That’s on an American road, mind you, where there are many safety pullouts.

These bozos look like they are proposing this for places like the Himalayas, Andes, and Atlas ranges, where life is cheap. Except, of course, for the wives and children of the drivers killed when they go over the side of a gorge.

The Greens outdo the “colonialist abuses” of even the worst Belgians in the 19th Century Congo.

Reply to  writing observer
March 10, 2022 11:46 am

Unicorn flatus electricity is tantamount to endangered species abuse, and should be banned. It requires gas collection equipment painfully inserted into the unicorn’s bum, along with an entire sulfur removal unit tugged along behind the poor animal. And this doesn’t even address the horrendous consequences of a “flash-back,” should the sulfur trailer be struck by lightning. No more unicorn fart power!

March 9, 2022 6:30 am

This paper is confusing. Any help in sorting out the proposed method of transport would be appreciated.

In essence, they propose to rectify the variability of low volume high head pressure mountain streams by transporting water in electric trucks from point A to point B. Essentially, using regenerative braking to power the trucks.

So, if dynamic head is proportional to elevation, why would the trucks be loaded with water while going down hill? That is, if water is to be reused as potential energy, it must be elevated above the turbine(s).

Joao Martins
March 9, 2022 6:30 am

If I understood that … joke, perhaps? …, the process boils down to a kind of swarm or tiny dams on wheels… I am not an economist but I guess that it would be much less expensive to install a few micro-dams with turbines along those tiny valleys than to have the burden of repairs of roads, trucks, etc… but it is just a guess; perhaps it is an uneducated guess…

As we said here a few days ago, the concept of “dam” is rather complex to be understood by the environmentalist fanatics…

Kevin kilty
March 9, 2022 6:30 am

The table shows road speeds from 40 to 60 m/s — 80 to 120mph? Road slopes of 11%? A combination of 120mph and 11% grade? Downhill?

This article looks a bit hoaxish, but with energy storage system proposals, who can possibly tell?

A good perspective on these gravitational storage systems is provided by

1kg diesel (lower heating value)=1 metric ton raised to 4300 meters.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 9, 2022 6:59 am

The speeds are what takes it from “mildly amusing” to “funny yet terrifying.”

Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 9, 2022 12:39 pm

I wonder if they remembered rolling resistance from the tires. Perhaps they should build trains instead.

Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 6:35 am

What if we skip the water and just use blimps to transport giant windmill-like contraptions attached to vehicles to the edge of space and drop them so that they charge on the way down. All over the world there will be charged vehicles dropping from the sky to be used for transportation or hooked up to any electricity using device. When the battery is discharged to a certain level, you drive it to a blimp port to be raised to the edge of space to be dropped and recharged.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Boney Cole
March 9, 2022 8:56 am

“It’s not a blimp! It’s an airship!”

-Ferdinand Von Zeppelin via Monty Python.

Ken Irwin
March 9, 2022 6:39 am

It seems to me a very expensive way of moving water down a mountain. A pipe with a tap at the end would be simpler.
Of course the whole thing is an elaborate joke.
Energy just got hoaxed.

william Johnston
Reply to  Ken Irwin
March 9, 2022 7:03 am

Come on, man. A lot of great, educated brain power went into this. Give them credit. Now, who has a spare joint.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
March 9, 2022 9:15 am

Forget the pipe and tap, an easier way to move the water is to leave it in the river.

Rhoda R.
March 9, 2022 6:40 am

I don’t see where there is enough room for a load to make this system economically viable.

Reply to  Rhoda R.
March 9, 2022 12:04 pm

It’s a “green” scam, of course it’s not economically viable.

March 9, 2022 6:44 am

What a pile of hot, steaming hooey.

March 9, 2022 6:48 am

Its a brilliant if rather labored parody. They have gone to really great lengths. They are handicapped by the fact that much of the real stuff of this genre is hard to tell from parodies.

You could run a prize contest for the best parody…

March 9, 2022 6:55 am

Notice that the amount of energy increases as a function of the slope of the road. Applying limit theory then a 90 degree slope would maximize the energy generation. The vehicles would be equipped with parachutes and on the way back down merely drive off a cliff…

william Johnston
Reply to  yirgach
March 9, 2022 8:40 am

And applying your limit theory, Max energy would be generated for a very short period of time.

Rod Evans
March 9, 2022 7:05 am

Just when you think it can’t get any more crazy, they come along with this to prove you wrong.
April 1st is happening all to often these days. Couldn’t they wait for the conventional day to put this forward?

Bruce Cobb
March 9, 2022 7:12 am

Shirley they can’t be cereal.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 9, 2022 8:57 am

Super cereal!

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 9, 2022 10:32 am

It’s going to take truckloads of Lucky Charms to make this work.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Johnson
March 9, 2022 7:16 am

I really do not know what to say, there are so many different angles. Maybe step wise.
1) Totally absurd proposal. Unfortunately, When I was in grad school, there were two or three Chem grad students far enough “out there” so they would have thought this a really great idea.
2) The work, especially the math that went into this, for a hoax? I got nothing.
3) Operational. If you got water for a bunch of trucks running back and forth, you got water for a pipeline. Size up the # of trucks, size up a pipe line. Maybe you have a 2 or 3 inch dia. pipe. Thats it. BUT, BUT, BUT they say. The water may not flow all the time, an advantageous route may change constantly. Trucks Move. What could be better??? They say.

Run the pipes.
I am informed by many seasons in Ski Country. You can not help but to get up close looks at the snow making operations done by the snow makers and trail groomers over the course of the season. Snow making absolutely was (and is) an integral part of running the Ski Mountain.
Orders From Above: Run a line of snow guns all the way up Tote Road, from summit to base.
The next morning, 4,000 ft. of compressed air pipe and 4,000 feet of water pipe run from the Pump House next to the base lodge clear up to the summit. The new day is bright and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and Tote Road is in blizzard conditions.
Orders From Above: Snow Cannon to the top of the Bunny Slope.
The next day, Oh My Gawd, the Snow Cannon leaves one speechless in awe and amazement. Plus another 1,500 feet of water pipe.
Orders From Above: The East side needs help. Another 5,000 ft water and 5,000 ft air pipe appear with the guns.
Orders From Above: Tote Road is fine, Western Flank needs attention. 4,000 ft each of air and water pipe disappear from Tote Road and appear on Western Reach along with another 2,000 ft each for good measure.
At this point you may be wondering. Yes the pipe sections are 50-100 ft long and fitted with some type rapid-connect, rapid disconnect fittings on both ends for making rapid pressure-tight seals.
And so it goes, all season long.

Now Question For The Crowd:
What is your capital investment/startup costs for–
1) An electric truck with a huge electric battery, then a whole fleet of such trucks.
2) 10,000 ft of off-the-shelf ski area snow making water pipe, available in a variety of common sizes.

Reply to  TonyL
March 9, 2022 9:19 am

3) Cost of building and maintaining the road/s?

Andrew Kerber
March 9, 2022 7:24 am

Someone went to a lot of trouble to produce an elaborate April Fools joke.

March 9, 2022 7:24 am

Good grief! I’m not gonna waste time reading all that. Trucks gotta get up the mountain before they can come back down, and the number of expensive manufactured trucks necessary to replace a cost-less river is enormous, not to mention the incredibly wide road necessary for that amount of traffic. Then there’s the river itself — if all its water comes down the mountain in trucks, the river dries up. How is that useful?

Sheesh. Just think of what proportion of a truck can actually hold water, probably 25% at best, more likely 10%. 1/2 the height, which is nothing compared to a river depth. 2/3 the length, 2/3 the width, and then half the weight of a loaded truck is the truck itself. If the trucks are 2-3 truck lengths apart, you’ve got an efficiency of 10% and need ten lanes just to match the carrying capacity.

ETA = that’s not even counting the enormous weight of the batteries necessary to make the regenerative braking useful, how long it would take to transfer the charge to the grid while the truck is out of the loop, or the extra batteries you’d need to swap them, or how long the batteries would last with many deep charge-discharge cycles every day, or the wear and tear on the trucks themselves.

Last edited 1 year ago by Scarecrow Repair
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Felix
March 9, 2022 12:32 pm

200-400 trucks per hour on steep mountain roads, this is about 1 every 15-20 seconds. Don’t have a wreck, it will be expensive.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
March 9, 2022 11:18 pm

Yeah but they have 4 lanes……….

This is seriously deluded work.

I bet they would drop the whole thing if you handed one of the authors the keys and told them to get driving down a mountain road.

jeffery p
March 9, 2022 7:26 am

I think it’s an unserious proposal in a really impressive-looking wrapper. In fact, the wrapper is a feature designed to keep anyone but the most dedicated reader from studying closely.

Here’s the gist of the scheme

  1. Empty electric trucks go uphill and fetch water
  2. The momentum of the loaded truck going downhill generates electricity which charges the trucks’ batteries
  3. The water from the truck is released into a river
  4. The water in the river is used to generate hydroelectric power
  5. Repeat

I think the costs are seriously underestimated and the net power generated overestimated. How are the costs of building and purchasing the trucks accounted for? Maintenance? Drivers’ salaries and benefits? Maintenance for the hydroelectric generators, etc.?

Last edited 1 year ago by jeffery p
jeffery p
Reply to  jeffery p
March 9, 2022 9:07 am

Unserious is the wrong word. I think it’s real, just ridiculous. To certain people who oppose new development like dams, nuclear or other power plants, this makes sense.

Last edited 1 year ago by jeffery p
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  jeffery p
March 9, 2022 12:34 pm

Somewhere in the tome was mention that the trucks would be driver-less. Nothing to go wrong here!

March 9, 2022 7:29 am

A proposal for another black hole for governments to throw money into.

Deserves an Army Jody: “Here we go again. same old sh!-t again.”

Michael Ozanne
March 9, 2022 7:34 am

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Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Michael Ozanne
March 9, 2022 8:58 am


jeffery p
Reply to  Michael Ozanne
March 9, 2022 9:08 am

Can you add an abstract and some charts? I think you’re halfway to a grant proposal.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Michael Ozanne
March 9, 2022 1:45 pm

I think there is funding for this in Build Back Better.😃

March 9, 2022 7:34 am

The word “pipe” is not mentioned in the paper even though a pipe is the logical alternative. Right now the word appears 13 times in the comments. Watts Up readers are on the ball.

Reply to  Speed
March 9, 2022 11:52 am

Even better…how about putting a little (or big) turbine at the bottom of each pipe.

Surely they’re joking…they can’t be that stupid can they??

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
March 9, 2022 2:29 pm

I should have mentioned the turbine — it was assumed in my little brain.

Here’s another idea for this bunch — Build a dam on a river. After a lake appears behind the dam, use trucks to take water from behind the dam down to the river below the dam. That way they wouldn’t need the mountain and they won’t have to drive as far.

Reply to  Speed
March 9, 2022 5:33 pm

The losses would exceed the gain because you would have to pump the water into the truck (a massive loss). So you need a very energy efficient way to fill the truck like driving the truck thru the dammed water to fill it 🙂

You can come up with increasingly silly ways to get slight energy gains but we all realize the problem the return on investment just isn’t there and you would never pay for the stupidity. That is the real problem with the original suggestion besides the risk.

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Rud Istvan
March 9, 2022 7:35 am

Marvelous parody. That it got published as serious by Energy is priceless.

Almost as good as my all time favorite, “Quantum Gravity Treatment of the Angel Density Problem” by physicist Anders Sandberg, published 2001 in the Annals of Improbably Research (Same Harvard scientists pranksters who host the annual Ig Nobels awards at Sanders Theater), available on line at improbable.com.

March 9, 2022 7:51 am

A sanity check.

Transporting oil by pipeline is about a zillion times cheaper than transporting oil by truck. I assume that goes double for water.

This truck scheme could be replaced by a small diameter pipeline which would handle the same volume.

March 9, 2022 7:53 am

Believe me, anyone who takes this idea seriously needs help.

Where will the power to make the trucks etc come from?

Definitely not this.

Mike Smith
March 9, 2022 7:57 am

I was sure the journal had been pranked. But based on the lead author’s past papers:


it’s apparently a serious effort to save the planet.

A prank would have been funny but this is just sad!

Reply to  Mike Smith
March 9, 2022 8:38 am

There are enough authors that they should be able to scrape up the money for a pilot project as proof of concept. But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

Leeches only take.

Peta of Newark
March 9, 2022 8:00 am

Oh dear, it’s absolutely fantastic.
Monty Python Lives. It’s gorgeous. Has it got any plans for the rest of its life – I feel an overpowering urge to get married.
Oh God, did I just say “overpowering

Is there a god…..
How did anyone know I’ve just been watching a docu-class ## on ‘lung health’ and this is The Best Workout mine have had for years

## Stand up straight and breath deeply, do not live in a mouldy house, take loads of Vitamin C and invest in peppermint essential oil.
(Massage it in, esp your feet believe it or not, eat it mixed with chocolate or coconut oil or breath it via an ultrasonic nebuliser or steam bath)

and how many times do we treat animals better than ourselves, this is where I first discovered peppermint oil
(That stuff is insanely strong, DO NOT GET IT IN or anywhere near YOUR EYES)

Also, why you put on cows’ teats, is antiseptic and truly epic insect repellent – esp for folks who might venture where where mozzies and ticks habituate

Last edited 1 year ago by Peta of Newark
Dave O.
March 9, 2022 8:02 am

This looks like an idea that the government could throw a lot of “research” money into.

Reply to  Dave O.
March 9, 2022 5:36 pm

This is the next phase for the climate warriors to come up with ways to get grants for increasingly stupid ideas but they are green.

Ben Vorlich
March 9, 2022 8:07 am

What about the wild life that used to live in the river which now has a greatly reduced flow?

It’s an issue for all hydro schemes

Rod Evans
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 9, 2022 8:19 am

Now come along Ben, the Green energy advocates have already got the authorities to pay them grants to kill rare birds and bats on their wind turbine follies so killing a few fish and small mammals on a mountain side will probably be rewarded with even more cash.
Saving the atmosphere from CO2 is so much more important than saving wildlife….apparently.

Bruce Cobb
March 9, 2022 8:14 am

Reminds me of a game we had when I was a kid, called “Mousetrap”. It was sort of fun, although pointless.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 9, 2022 9:04 am

Yeah, I used to set it up by myself just to watch it work.

Prolly racist now.

March 9, 2022 8:17 am

Perpetual Motion Machine

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  BernardP
March 9, 2022 9:04 am

Perpetual Stupid Machine.

Rick C
March 9, 2022 8:25 am

OR…you could just run a pipe from the river at the upper part of the mountain down to an electric generator turbine at the bottom of the mountain. Low cost, continuous output, long life, etc. Also a demonstrated successful process known as hydropower. Shirley, this paper is intended to be an April Fool satire.

Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 8:37 am

How much more efficient, cheaper, and no need to share the “road” would a continuous circuit tramline be? It drives itself, scooping water at the top or filling by large diameter pipe, running to the bottom, discharging, and back up it goes. The issues with sharing the road kills the project. Accidents, lawsuits, truck breakdowns, drivers/weather problems….another intermittent power tech.

Sal Minella
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 10:13 am

Better yet, a gondola system suspended above the river to carry the water down… or tethered containers of water floated down the river… or maybe just a pipe.

As my mother used to say: If wishes were knishes, beggars would be well fed.

Rex Malott
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 10:33 am

I like that but since there will soon be no snow for water on mountains a better idea that works at extreme tidal regions is to load giant barges with sea water at high tide and moor them over hydraulic rams that drive a seawater manifold feeding a penstock that drives a big turbine. As the tide drops the mass of the barge pushes water through the system and drives the turbine. Someboday can do the math on this, figure 20,000 tons per barge, 4 meter tides, 2x per day, etc. I stopped reading the truck article when the electric truck payload was a mere 200 kWh, just enough for a couple of Teslas. My barges would run at least three.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2022 11:20 am

Maybe just a big conveyer belt with buckets.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
March 9, 2022 5:37 pm

They call that a water wheel was invented quite a few years ago 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
March 9, 2022 11:21 pm

A coal mine in NZ used to generate serious electricity transporting coal down 1000m off a plateau in an aerial ropeway (kind of like a reverse ski lift).

Caligula Jones
March 9, 2022 8:40 am

Only way to find out: Big Green has to invest in it. If it works, great, they profit, but they can then never get any taxpayer money.

If it doesn’t, well, there are still soup kitchens, aren’t there?

Burgher King
March 9, 2022 8:49 am

Could their methodology be adapted for use in developing a new generation of climate models?

March 9, 2022 8:52 am

Elaborate spoof.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 9, 2022 9:17 am

Very very elaborate, almost to the point you’d think it was serious.

If you submitted a proposal for a real blue sky idea, one you think is pretty shaky, but it got funded! And the grants have been a little thin lately…do you just turn away the money? And let’s say you and your team buds are detail oriented and have a work ethic?

jeffery p
March 9, 2022 9:01 am

This may “make sense” in drought-stricken California where laws and regulations make it near impossible to build pretty much anything.

For the rest of us — WTF?

This is a scheme to get around the simplest but least enviro-mental acceptable solution — nuclear power.

jeffery p
Reply to  jeffery p
March 9, 2022 9:04 am

We all know enviro-mentals care about the environment in the same way Communists care about the worker. Both reasons are just pretty facades to hide the real motivation.

Last edited 1 year ago by jeffery p
March 9, 2022 9:06 am

Idiotic beyond words.
Why not just build a pipeline and pump water up it, when electricity is cheap?

Allen Stoner
March 9, 2022 9:07 am

I like it. California should pledge to get 50% of their electricity from this by 2024!

March 9, 2022 9:12 am

Reminds me of the Turbo Encabulator

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Neo
March 9, 2022 9:48 am

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 9, 2022 9:49 am

Ok, why doesn’t my link embed like all the others?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Neo
March 9, 2022 10:28 am

Direactance! Just what we’ve been missing.

March 9, 2022 9:23 am

The scheme is viable. What you are all missing is the fact that “1.2 PWh per year” refers to picoWatts, not petaWatts.

Ben Wilson
March 9, 2022 9:23 am

I’m betting a group of graduate students who brainstormed up this rube goldberg scheme and each wrote a section. . . .

March 9, 2022 9:28 am

Must have had a helluva drinking party at the faculty lounge to come up with the “hydro truck” concept and then seriously, sort of, run a feasibility study on it.

I don’t even know where to begin, nor do I want to begin, a serious, sort of, debunking of this idiocy.

Hydro power is great. It does not require a very high elevation head to make it very efficient at extracting gravitational energy from flowing water. Witness all the existing hydropower dams on the lower Snake River and Columbia River, all of which are located far downstream of and much lower than the high mountains, benefit from large watersheds to provide stability in stream flows, and benefit from by far the lowest cost means of transporting water – in open channels and closed penstocks (pipes).

Motorized vehicles with regenerative brakes are vastly less efficient at transporting water down mountain roads.

This is just flat out a hoax and a joke played on the dumb grad students who did all the work on this study for the gleeful profs who supposedly supervised it, while laughing their asses off.

Reply to  Duane
March 9, 2022 11:40 am

Not requiring a high elevation head is how we (Manitoba) produce 95% of our power from rivers flowing from the high plains to Hudson Bay. We have no mountains.

George T
March 9, 2022 9:42 am

I anticipate a “transporter” will solve the problem. It’s just a matter of time. These sort of articles are rather amusing. It indeed fits the Rube Goldberg definition.

March 9, 2022 9:42 am

I think the problem this and similar attempts at parody have is the extent to which the real policy proposals and efforts are indistinguishable from parody, because they are so ridiculous.

Imagine that someone comes up with the idea of supplying a grid which is required to supply constant demand within very narrow voltage parameters. Great, is the reply, lets use wind turbines…. and it goes on from there, not enough wind, OK, put them offshore, fluctuating output from them, OK, install huge battery packs, but then we have to charge the batteries, OK, double the size of the wind farms to allow for charging the batteries, then where do we get the batteries, OK, get the raw materials for the batteries from slave labour mines and processing plants in China (of all places).

And do all this to save the planet by reducing CO2 emissions when electricity generation only accounts for one third of CO2 emissions, and when the world’s biggest emitters anyway are installing coal fired plants as fast as they can.

The idea is obviously mad enough to be a parody, the only problem is figuring out what exactly it is a parody of.

I suggested that like the Essay Prize, this site could host a Parody Prize. But you can see the problem, the wildest parodies of the climatarian tendency have already been proposed by dead serious advocates, and quite a lot of them are actually being implemented.

Brandon Galt
March 9, 2022 9:53 am

Sometimes they think they’re so smart and ignore the obvious! They need a water source in a high up area….
Take it a step further and you can do this with ANY high altitude area!
Why not set up the pipes with generators in them generate the electricity on the way down in the pipe. This would be more efficient than regenerative braking.

Then have the electric trucks haul water UP the mountain to travel down the pipe. When the trucks return down the mountain, that regenerative braking can create enough electricity to get the next load of water back to the top!

Way better as there’s no risk of contaminating streams or disturbing the habitat of the ultra rare pearlescent unicorn darter. All the water is contained in the system!


March 9, 2022 9:54 am

Why not just use the old tow lines on the ski slopes and have the trucks go round and round, then you don’t need engines.

Old Roy
March 9, 2022 10:04 am

Kept looking for the attribution to “The Journal of Irreproducible Results”. Perhaps in a footnote?

Right-Handed Shark
March 9, 2022 10:04 am

You can laugh, but BoJo will be all over this as the next big development in renewables that we’ve been waiting for. And as the UK doesn’t have enough suitable mountains he’ll insist we build some.

March 9, 2022 10:08 am

Give me a break! This is NOT a serious proposal!

Reply to  Art
March 9, 2022 5:42 pm

I assumed it was done as a joke as well. Technically it works but the risk and return on investment is off the charts which I suspect gets lost on the greentards and what the joke is about 🙂

Ed Zuiderwijk
March 9, 2022 10:13 am

A very amusing hoax. We can also leave the cabin out.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
March 9, 2022 5:44 pm

Yes we could cut cost on the truck by just having a bicycle seat with option umbrella for bad weather 🙂

March 9, 2022 10:14 am

I did a word count on the article for the word ‘assume’ which gave 15 uses total.

That right there is 15 chances of a wrong assumption. If one or more assumptions are wrong, I think there’s a good chance the whole idea goes down in flames.

Wait up… let’s throw in my assumption that the batteries don’t catch fire and the trucks, and their idea don’t up in flames. I may be wrong on that assumption.

Robert of Texas
March 9, 2022 10:41 am

So you will add a large load to the trucks and the roads they travel on because everyone knows that heavier loads do not wear out trucks and roads faster.

I know I certainly want larger loads traveling down mountain sides making for more congestion and less safety. Sounds really Green to me. Let me guess – we can cut 100 square miles of forest down to build solar farms to keep the trucks running? Well, running half the day…

Or one could just build a series of pipes to collect water and produce a lot more pressure (and therefore power) using a standard generator. You could bury the pipe right next to (or under) the road conserving the remaining natural landscape. Now you don’t have to rebuild the road every 5 years, replace the truck batteries every 7, or replace the trucks every 12. And you can leave the 100 square miles of forest alone.

Jim Gorman
March 9, 2022 11:12 am

The first thing I thought of was “wait a mnute”. Let’s charge a battery going down, then put a discharged battery in to go up. Something is amiss here in the energy gained going down and the energy expended to go back up.

Maybe someone can explain it.

Secondly, I thought how big does this road need to be? My first guess was how many batteries does that Victoria, Australia large battery system have? To get any reliable power of any size you are going to need a lot of batteries that can be replaced instantaneously as the first set is exhausted. You can’t wait on just a couple of trucks going up and down to supply the necessary charged batteries.

Rube Goldberg doesn’t begin to explain a perpetual motion machine.

Was this supposed to be released April 1st?

Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 9, 2022 5:48 pm

It’s not perpetual motion the water is up the hill it works exactly the same as a conventional hydro dam or olden days water wheel it turns the mass at height into energy. You empty the water at the bottom take out excess energy from battery and send the the truck back up (it needs less energy to get uphill as it’s many tons lighter).

We suspect it’s a joke as the kicker is the risk (truck accidents) and return on investment (truck, road, driver etc) is off the charts.

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
jeffery p
March 9, 2022 11:32 am

This is what happens when you go away for a long weekend at the lake and leave resentful graduate students in charge of writing the paper.

Jim Fleming
March 9, 2022 11:38 am

Send copies of this to our current V.P. and Sec. Transportation. Also to the climate czar. On second thought — don’t!

March 9, 2022 11:52 am

Yeah or you could build a nuclear power plant and forget about all this gibberish.

March 9, 2022 11:59 am

In New Zealand we have extensive pine plantations on what is called the volcanic plateau in the centre of the North Island. These are logged and trucked down to the port for shipping, and the empty trucks head back up the plateau. A quick back of the envelop calculation shows that in theory you could use the loaded downhill run to charge batteries for the uphill return ….

Andy Pattullo
March 9, 2022 12:24 pm

Hilarious. Is there more where this came from? How about a boat with a water intake linked to a turbine that drives the propeller.

mega weld
March 9, 2022 12:30 pm

Seems they could build aquaducts with water wheels attached to an alternator or something? Does seem to make much sense having trucks drive up and down.

Last edited 1 year ago by mega weld
Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
March 9, 2022 12:34 pm

Like many, my first thought was this was a hoax. Then I looked up the first listed author Julian David Hunt, and found he is actually real and so is the proposal for truck hydropower. Dr. Hunt is giving a presentation at the International Conference on Renewable Energy and Energy Systems (REES) April 22-24 in Suzhou, China.

The title is: Electric Truck Hydropower, a flexible solution to hydropower in mountainous regions

His bio:

Julian Hunt is a research scholar in the Sustainable Service Systems (S3) Research Group of the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program where he focuses on implementing daily and seasonal storage energy technologies in MESSAGE models and analyzing the impact of these technologies on long-term energy planning. His research interests include analysis of energy systems, water-energy-land interfaces, climate change risks, energy security, and energy storage.

The proposed truck hydropower system depends on:

  1. Autonomous vehicles able to navigate up and down mountain roads, taking on water at the top and discharging it at the bottom. The labor cost of a human driver for each truck is clearly a deal killer.
  2. Swapable battery packs, presumably entirely or substantially automated to minimize labor. Considering that for all the fanfare Tesla never made this idea work on passenger vehicles, the assumption it will can work on large trucks with 1,000 kg battery packs requires some justification.
  3. Existing roads. In the formula for Energy a 15% grade is assumed. The steepest road of any length in the US is in Hawaii going down into Waipio Valley. It averages 24% grade but there are sections at 45%. Total length is just 1.4 miles (2.25 km) and it isn’t wide enough for two vehicles going opposite directions to pass. And it was closed last month for safety concerns anyway. US interstate standard maximum grade is 6%, and all the references I could find to US roads anywhere near 15% are for very short stretches. I.e., not enough existing roads of usable length anywhere near that grade. The article does say greatest potential is S. America and Asia. Even so, I find it difficult to believe you could run enough hydro trucks up and down an existing road to generate usable power without effectively shutting down other traffic. At which point it would be better to build penstocks alongside the existing road rather than widen it.
  4. One claimed advantage is the hydro trucks would be mobile and could move to different areas as needed to follow water availability. The trucks are mobile, but the battery swapping stations and inverters and grid interconnects are not — you’d have to build them at every potential location.

Many other specific objections could be raised but the notion that a conga line of trucks is a viable way to recover potential energy from high elevation water is absurd; pipelines are the proven simpler, cheaper and safer way to transport liquids and gasses. It may cost more to build initially, but operating costs will be lower, service lifetime greater and net efficiency higher.

This really should be an April Fool’s joke, but sadly it isn’t.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
March 9, 2022 12:37 pm

Instead of filling and emptying a gorge or canyon with an industrial pump/generator, build a million or so tanker trucks, each with their own storage tank and motor/battery/generator. This is the opposite of economies of scale — even dumber than solar roads..

Don Perry
March 9, 2022 12:49 pm

Not quite April 1, is it?

Killer Marmot
March 9, 2022 1:10 pm

It doesn’t quite violate the first law of thermodynamics, but it sure seems silly.

Gordon A. Dressler
March 9, 2022 1:29 pm

Regarding the above article: the stupidity, it burns!

The article contains this sophomoric statement: “The proposed system is divided into four main components, which are: the electric truck, water containers, the charge site and the discharge site.”

Totally overlooked component: the cost of labor for the drivers of those trucks . . . there is no mention of the trucks having full, reliable autopilot capability to use “existing road infrastructure that crosses mountain ranges”, as is stated under the article’s Item 2.

Almost everyone who has ever done real cost project planning knows that labor costs are most frequently the highest cost component in any given civil project.

Last edited 1 year ago by ToldYouSo
March 9, 2022 2:00 pm

It looks like yet another Green perpetual motion machine being unveiled.

J P Kalishek
March 9, 2022 2:05 pm

seems like the solution to “What’s the least efficient way we can take advantage of Hydro Power?” Here’s a silly test. Run a truck down the hill, and then use the power collected to get back up the hill, in the same truck. Bets on how far up it’ll get? (percent)

Pariah Dog
March 9, 2022 2:05 pm

Why bother with trucks at all? All you need is some giant inflatable balls, some bungee cord, and a turbine fixed at the top of the slope.

Fill the inflatable balls with water at the top of the slope, make sure the bungee cord is securely attached to the ball and the turbine, and set it off down the slope. The cord unspools from the turbine, spinning it and generating electricity.

Once the ball of water gets to the bottom of the slope, pop the cork and let the water drain into the river. The tension of the bungee cord on the now empty ball will drag it back up the slope, ready for the next run.

If there is any oncoming traffic during these runs, you just need an artist on standby who can paint a tunnel into the side of the mountain. Easy.

March 9, 2022 3:11 pm

A belt-and-road hoax: perpetual motion. Energy was punked.

Alec Rawls
March 9, 2022 4:31 pm

Sokal hoax for sure. Hydroelectric generation converts about 90% of the potential energy of the water in the upper reservoir to electricity, meaning that the mechanical losses are small, while road travel involves huge mechanical losses, and that’s on a one way trip, never mind a two way trip. If the site is not viable for simple hydro it is going to be far less viable for down and up trucking.

Beyond the heat and mechanical losses in the motors, drive train, electrical systems, and road traction, everyone is familiar with the amount of braking force that comes with a turn. That braking is all lost to regenerative braking, whereas penstocks will employ a straight drop.

Then there are the vastly higher construction, equipment and maintenance costs, with fleets of million dollar trucks that are all prone to go up in flames together every couple of years, fleets of drivers that have to be raised from birth to at least age 18, road development and repaving, snow removal, etcetera vs. penstocks and generators that operate practically maintenance free for decades on end.

Some friend of Hunter is going to get Solyndra money for this though, with 10% for The Big Guy. That’s considered an efficient return in the world of corruption. Taxpayer dollars don’t have to produce ANY value, as long as Joe gets his cut.

March 9, 2022 4:38 pm

Lots of big trucks, steep roads, tight corners, disastrous consequences !

So, the battery trucks get down the road to offload their ‘cargo’ … how do they get back up to the top again without using any energy ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Streetcred
old engineer
March 9, 2022 7:07 pm

Of course it’s a very elaborate hoax .Look at the authors list. No academic or corporate affiliation given for any of the authors. Yet they got grants from some official sounding agencies of some unnamed country.

Gregg Eshelman
March 9, 2022 8:19 pm

It would cost a lot less to just build a pipeline that diverts water to a level that has an area able to have a good sized reservoir built. Could put a bunch of turbines and generators in the pipe so electricity is being generated on the way to the reservoir where the big generator is.

Pipelines work around the clock, and they don’t need drivers that needs to be paid. Pipelines don’t get drunk or fall asleep at the wheel and run off the road.

Alan Chew
March 9, 2022 8:51 pm

What a ridiculous inaccurate article.
I spent a short time doing basic calculations on this using mostly numbers which they have used… for resists, slope 15%, height 5000 m, speed 40kph,33000/10000 kg truck, etc.
to produce 100 MW of power would require 1220 trucks each with a battery of 1041 kWHrs capacity. The spacing of trucks along the 66 km of road would be 54.7 metres!!!! That’s some trucking contract.
This Is obviously absurd and massively more expensive than the proposal by these loonies.
122 trucks are needed for a 10 MW output. Equally absurd.
just a joke…,

Rod Evans
Reply to  Alan Chew
March 9, 2022 9:43 pm

In my part of the world, we call this kind of activity “a wind up” The authors are having a great laugh no doubt, seeing how many sensible people take their lunacy serious. Full marks to their faux dedication, providing pointless details and calculations. 🙂

David Muller
March 9, 2022 9:17 pm

I like it! Much simpler than ethanol. Lower capital investment and fewer moving parts. And you don’t even need to spray poisons from airplanes to make it work!

One problem though: There aren’t enough senators from mountain states to force the rest of us to pay for it.

Geoff Sherrington
March 9, 2022 9:23 pm

Surely the trucks could be replaced by water tanks on a ski lift system, with the full ones coming down powering the empties going up plus electricity from a generator turned by the cable?
What essential part of the truck concept am I missing? Geoff S

March 9, 2022 11:12 pm

Driving a fully loaded truck down a 10 to 15% grade at 40 to 60kmphr on a winding mountain road (usually on the narrower end of the spectrum), what could go wrong?

Had some milk come out the nose when I read this part.

Note that the introduction of ice slurry is not appropriate for locations with temperatures below 0 °C, because the ice slurry would freeze, which would make it difficult to unload the water when the tank reaches the bottom of the mountain.”

It will be self un-loading when the truck slides off the road and reaches the bottom of the mountain rather more quickly than anticipated.

And I bet a large amount of money that they have completely ignored the TKPH restrictions on the front tyres. This absolutely kills the productivity of mining trucks hauling down-hill (usually 8 to 10% down grades). Would be exactly the same in this scenario.

Reply to  Dean
March 10, 2022 1:54 am

In physics there is no such thing as a free lunch…

March 10, 2022 1:48 am

This research was funded by National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) through the ANP Human Resources Program for the Oil and Gas Sector Gas – PRH-ANP/MCTI, in particular PRH-ANP 53.1 UFES, for all the financial support received through the grant.


March 10, 2022 5:30 am

Article reads like a kludged computer generated fantasy by armchair theorists.

The proposed system consists of using existing road infrastructure that crosses mountain ranges to transport water down the mountain in electricity truck containers, transform the potential energy of the water into electricity with the regenerative braking of the truck and use this electricity to charge the battery of the truck.”

That same truck must drive back up the mountain. Regenerative braking ain’t going to help.

Fig. 5. Hybrid cargo, hydropower truck. (a) fully loaded with cargo and empty water tank. (b) cargo and water tank partly loaded. (c) empty cargo and fully loaded tank.”

If you’ve ever drive a real truck, you quickly learn to load the heavy cargo to the front, right behind the driver. Their image with a big rig dragging a container of water is a prime way to cause jackknifed or overturned tractor trailers.
On mountain roads, that usually means the truck takes the quick path down, skipping the road and killing the driver.

The yahoos behind this research should build a scale model to prove their concept. No attempt should should be made to use life size trucks and roads.

Paul E Wentworth
March 10, 2022 8:38 am
Last edited 1 year ago by Paul E Wentworth
Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Paul E Wentworth
March 10, 2022 6:11 pm

The news report is lacking full disclosure.
There is no way this train can start with flat batteries and power itself over a round trip.
It might be possible (depending on specifics like grade and friction) to be self-contained starting with fully-charged batteries, but that electricity to fully charge cannot come from the train itself.
So it still will need backup electricity like diesel generators or wind farms.
Which is not admitted in the press release. Geoff S

March 10, 2022 11:00 am

Half of all papers published today closely resemble the Sokal Hoax. But that is accidental. A deliberate publication was the Grievance studies hoax, AKA Sokal-squared, perpetrated by the brilliant James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian.

Teddy Lee
March 10, 2022 12:03 pm

My calender still shows 10th of March!

March 10, 2022 12:23 pm

You may be missing the point. The objective of alternate energy and sustainability and global warming is not energy creation or CO2 reduction. The objective is to destroy the economy of the United States and reduce its people to submissive peons with no vehicles and very little food. This scheme, like all “green” brain farts, would move us closer to that goal before even a single KWH has been generated. We are in the hands of the Wreckers.

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