Feeds

Boffins discover true power of water

Electrokinetic energy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Canadian scientists have discovered how to generate electricity - by nothing more than pushing water through a fine glass tube.

As water passes through the tube, tiny amounts of glass - itself a supercooled liquid - 'dissolve' into the water. That gives the surface of the tube a positive charge, which attracts negative ions in the water. The flow of the water carries the positive ions onward, resulting in a net difference in charge between the two ends of the tube. That difference amounts to a voltage of around 10V.

Connect both ends of the tube to a circuit, and the voltage drives a current, albeit a tiny one: only one thousandth of an amp, reports University of Alberta Professor Larry Kostiuk, leader of the team that made the discovery in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering today.

Team member Daniel Kwok is credited with laying the ground work for the team's findings.

The team produced electricity using gravity to push the water through the tube. At a height of 30cm the water column pulled through the tube this way was enough to light a low-power bulb.

That's not enough to do any real work, but by assembling thousand of tubes together, this 'electrokinetic' technique could be used to generate useful amounts of electricity. Kostiuk told The Times that he doubts the technique will replace other forms of electricity generation, but he believes it may well one day prove useful as a way of powering microengines or recharging small electronic devices such a cellphones. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA
Just 100 Beijing fanbois queue to pick up new mobe
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.