Could Rain Become Our Next Source of Hydropower? | doGood

Dams are an effective way to generate electricity. The only problem with this restrictive structure is that it creates significant environmental harm concerns. Then there is the threat of flooding if it should fail.

Numerous attempts have been made to generate hydropower through safer methods, including falling rain. Now researchers have developed a field-effect, transistor-style generator that can produce up to 140V from a single drop.

That’s enough power to light 100 LED bulbs briefly.

How Practical Is This Idea?

This new attempt to create power from the rain uses an aluminum electrode with an indium tin oxide electrode layered with PTFE (a synthetic polymer).

When the rain hits the surface, then the liquid bridges the two electrodes to create a closed-loop circuit. That design helps it to release any stored charges.

The technology could theoretically handle sustained rainfall to create a useful power source. Continuous drops would allow the charge to accumulate until it hits a saturation point.

Using this generator as a large-scale hydropower solution is not currently practical. This technology is now capable of creating a brief burst of energy. It’s the potential that this idea offers that could be a game-changer for creating sustainably-produced electricity.

Building rooftops could offset some of the energy that residents or businesses use. Electric boats could extend the range of this system.

You could even use the technology to power devices that get wet, such as an umbrella. We know that the presence of water equals life. Now it can also be a safe and environmentally friendly way to create electricity.

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