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Saturday, October 16, 2021

IIT-Delhi researchers develop device to generate electricity from raindrops, ocean waves

The device has been developed using “Triboelectric Effect” and “Electrostatic Induction”. It is called “Liquid-solid Interface Triboelectric Nanogenerator”.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2021 2:59:10 pm
The IIT Delhi research team also explored the underlying mechanism of the electricity generated when the water drop comes in contact with the solid surface and it is shown that saline water drops generate more electricity. (File Photo)

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi researchers have designed a device that can generate electricity from water drops, raindrops, water streams, and ocean waves which can be stored in batteries for further use.

The device has been developed using “Triboelectric Effect” and “Electrostatic Induction”. It is called “Liquid-solid Interface Triboelectric Nanogenerator”.

“The device has a very simple structure consisting of specially designed nanocomposite polymers and contact electrodes and can generate a few Milliwatt (mW) power, which is sufficient to power small electronic devices like watches, digital thermometers, radio frequency transmitters, healthcare sensors, pedometers. When compared to conventional methods, such as the use of the piezoelectric effect, the present device can generate significantly more electricity,” IIT-D said in a statement.

Professor Neeraj Khare from the Department of Physics and his group at the Nanoscale Research Facility (NRF) have been working on “harvesting electrical energy from to be wasted mechanical vibrations using the triboelectric effect” and have filed an Indian patent on “the various aspects of the use of ferroelectric polymer for harvesting mechanical energy including the present device”.

“Triboelectric effect is a known phenomenon for a long time, and in this effect, charges are generated when two surfaces are in friction. The best example we see are sparkling lights when we move the blankets/jackets. It is only lately that it has been extensively investigated as a practical alternative for energy harvesting,” said Khare.

Khare and Dr Huidrom Hemojit Singh have demonstrated that water drop rolling over the surface of the device generates electricity in a research paper published in “Advanced Materials Interfaces” (Vol.8, Issue No.12, 2170068 (2021).”

“The researchers successfully incorporated nanostructures into a polymer matrix, which enhanced the film’s surface roughness, polarizability, and hydrophobicity, among other characteristics, as a result. Due to the enhancement in the above property, the flexible film is used to fabricate the device where raindrops have just to slide down and can generate electricity. The artificially created rough surface allows to generate more charge and superhydrophobic properties of the solid surface help to roll the water drop without getting stick to the surface,” IIT-D said in a statement.

“The IIT Delhi research team also explored the underlying mechanism of the electricity generated when the water drop comes in contact with the solid surface and it is shown that saline water drops generate more electricity. The researchers also showed that the device can even work with ocean waves, where the water is saline, and through the ocean waves contacting the surface of nanocomposite polymer film, electricity is generated,” it said.

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