Alternative renewable energy – a term that has been branded in recent years. The key words here are a lot of wind, sun, water, geothermal energy and biomass. Today it is about a new technology in the field of water, the so-called drop generator. This can generate energy from a small amount of water (a drop of water), which is sufficient for several LEDs.
Conventional hydropower plants
It normally requires a large amount of water for hydropower. Run-of-river power plants only require a low head, as water constantly flows through them. Storage power plants (in connection with reservoirs) often have a large drop distance and accordingly generate a high proportion of electricity even with a small amount of water. The decisive factor is the drop height of the water (water pressure / energy) and the amount of water.
Drop generator – the novelty
However, there are now variants which can also generate electrical energy with small amounts of water. What is also new is that this gives with astonishingly high efficiency. The drop generator consists of the semiconductor indium tin oxide and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). Teflon is an electret (an electrically insulating material) that can store, collect and release electrical charge. An aluminum piece is added as an electrode between the two layers. Since Teflon is hydrophobic, the water drop creates an electrochemical interaction and thus an electrical charge. This charge is accumulated so that after a large number of drops there is a stable surface charge. Now the water can create a conductive bridge between the layers using an aluminum electrode and the circuit has been created. The energy density is approximately 50 watts per square meter.
Electricity generation using a drop generator
The drop generator can light up more than a hundred small LEDs by means of a drop (approx. 140 volts and 270mA). The generator works with all kinds of water so that seawater and rainwater are also used. Regularity is important, however, so that rainwater must first be collected and then dripped regularly onto the generator via a capillary. Flow and height can be regulated.
As a result, a new renewable energy is used: the kinetic energy. The fall energy from the water comes from gravity and counts as renewable kinetic energy. The application can be used in rainy areas and areas with water.
The drop generator uses the so-called triboelectric effect. This is an effect where the contact between water and certain materials is sufficient to generate electricity.