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2.27.20
Jawbreaker

Scientists Invent Device to Generate Electricity From Rain

February 10th 20__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Earth & Energy
Felix Mittermeier via Pixabay/Tag Hartman-Simkins

Brief Jolt

A team of engineers has figured out how to take a single drop of rain and use it to generate a powerful flash of electricity.

The City University of Hong Kong researchers behind the device, which they’re calling a droplet-based electricity generator (DEG), say that a single rain droplet can briefly generate 140 volts. That was enough to briefly power 100 small lightbulbs and, while it’s not yet practical enough for everyday use, it’s a promising step toward a new form of renewable electricity.

Forming Bridges

The DEG uses a “field-effect transistor-style structure,” Engadget reports, which can turn rainfall into short bursts of power.

The material the device is made from contains a quasi-permanent electrical charge, and the rain is merely what triggers the flow of energy, according to research published last week in the journal Nature.

Early Tests

The real trick will be finding a way to turn this technology into something that might be viable for people’s homes — for now, it’s not reliable enough to deliver a continuous supply of power, as it needs to charge up before it can let out another burst.

In the meantime, Engadget suggests, it could serve as a small, temporary power source on futuristic water bottles or umbrellas.

READ MORE: Rain may soon be an effective source of renewable energy [Engadget]

More on energy: These Solar Panels Can Generate Electricity Using Rain