Feeds

Boffins discover true power of water

Electrokinetic energy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.