The Mississippi River is no longer the primary driver of industry in Minneapolis, but its powerful current remains the focal point of the University of Minnesota's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.

The lab, built as a Works Progress Administration project in 1938, sits just below the falls on the east bank of the river. It harnesses 2,200 gallons of river water per second to drive a myriad of experiments.

"It is unique in its design to utilize the 50-foot drop of St. Anthony Falls," said director Fotis Sotiropolous. "Essentially the same reason that the laboratory is here, for the same reason the city of Minneapolis grew around here."

Leaders at the facility offered reporters a first-person look at their work Tuesday, following a major renovation that was funded with $7.1 million in stimulus funds and another $9.1 million from the University.

Researchers were busy studying how waves can generate energy, the effectiveness of water-based wind turbines, algea growth patterns and how river deltas are formed.

See the video above for a tour of the facility.