At 81 feet, 6 ¾ inches tall, MASSIV, the new water coaster at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, utilizes a new energy-efficient system to power people through the slide.

A peek under the hood reveals variable frequency drives that ramp up motor speeds to propel rafts of thrillseekers over the ride’s three uphill chutes, and then throttle back to save energy.

"As the rider moves from zone to zone the water is powered up and powered back down depending on where the rider is in the ride at that time," said Keith Campden, group manager of the in-house engineering team, Mechatronics, at WhiteWater in Richmond, BC.

MASSIV is the first such water ride North America to utilize the new technology, making it comparatively economical to operate, Campden said. Data collected over a 20-day period showed that using VFD and a proprietary control system, the water coaster uses approximately 55 percent less energy than it would if it were powered by fixed-frequency drives that ran at a constant speed.

MASSIV opened last week after it was officially deemed the world’s tallest water coaster by Guinness World Records.