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A single raindrop can now power 100 small LED light bulbs, effectively setting a new milestone for energy-harvesting technologies, scientists have reported.
The droplet-based electricity generator has a high energy-conversion efficiency and power density thousands of times bigger than its counterparts.
Developers - Tech - World - Energy - Crisis
The developers hope the tech will help to tackle the world energy crisis by providing new ways of making use of the environmental energy around us in water and rain.
The generator could be used in various settings where water meets a solid surface — such as on the hulls of boats, along coastlines and on the outside of umbrellas.
Research - Drop - Microlitres - Water - Height
"Our research shows that a drop of 100 microlitres of water released from a height of 15 centimetres can generate a voltage of over 140 volts,' said lead author and engineer Zuankai Wang of the City University of Hong Kong.
'The power generated can light up 100 small LED light bulbs,' he added.
Hydropower - Nothing - ? - Dams - Power
While hydropower is nothing new — electric-generating dams and tidal power stations have been constructed across the globe — limitations of current tech have stopped us from fully making use of the power available from waves and raindrops.
This power comes in the form of low-frequency kinetic — or movement — energy.
Energy - Water - Gravity - Professor - Wang
'The kinetic energy entailed in falling water is due to gravity and can be regarded as free and renewable. It should be better utilised,' Professor Wang said.
Conventional droplet energy generators take advantage of the triboelectric effect, in which electricity is generated when certain materials come into contact with each other, with the friction causing them to trade electrons.
Size - Charge - Surfaces - Energy - Conversion
Unfortunately, the size of the charge that can be generated on such surfaces has typically been very limited, leading to very low energy conversion efficiency.
The researchers' new energy harvesting design overcomes these limitations in two different ways.
First, the team used...
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