Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a super-hydrophobic surface that can be used to generate electrical voltage.
When salt water flows over this specially patterned surface, it can produce at least 50 millivolts. The proof-of-concept work could lead to the development of new power sources for lab-on-a-chip platforms and other microfluidics devices. It could someday be extended to energy harvesting methods in water desalination plants, researchers said.
A team of researchers led by Prab Bandaru, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and first author Bei Fan, a graduate student in Bandaru’s research group, published their work in the Oct. 3 issue of Nature Communications.
The main idea behind this work is to create electrical voltage by moving ions over a charged surface. And the faster you can move these ions, the more voltage you can generate, explained Bandaru.
Bandaru’s team created a surface so hydrophobic that it enables water (and any ions it carries) to flow faster when passing over. The surface also holds a negative charge, so a rapid flow of positive ions in salt water with respect to this negatively charged surface results in an electrical potential difference, creating an electrical voltage.
“The reduced friction from this surface as well as the consequent electrical interactions helps to obtain significantly enhanced electrical voltage,” said Bandaru.
The surface was made by etching tiny ridges into a silicon substrate and then filling the ridges with oil (such as synthetic motor oil used for lubrication). In tests, dilute salt water was transported by syringe pump over the surface in a microfluidic channel, and then the voltage was measured across the ends of the channel.
There have been previous reports on super-hydrophobic, or so-called “lotus leaf” surfaces designed to speed up fluid flow at the surface. However, these surfaces have so far been patterned with tiny air pockets—and since air does not hold charge, the result is a smaller electric potential difference and thus, a smaller voltage. By replacing air with a liquid like synthetic oil—which holds charge and won’t mix with salt water—Bandaru and Fan created a surface that produces at least 50 percent more electrical voltage than previous designs. According to Bandaru, higher voltages may also be obtained through faster liquid velocities and narrower and longer channels.
Moving forward, the team is working on creating channels with these patterned surfaces that can produce more electrical power.
Receive an email update when we add a new ELECTRICITY GENERATION article.
The Latest on: Electricity generation
via Google News
The Latest on: Electricity generation
- Oil majors switch on to a future in power generation on November 12, 2018 at 8:00 pm
A fuel station on Madrid’s Calle de Alberto Aguilera offers a glimpse into the future. Customers can pick up Amazon packages and gourmet groceries, drop off their hybrid car-share or sip a café con le... […]
- Renewables overtaking fossil fuels in new power generation: International Energy Agency on November 12, 2018 at 7:10 pm
Renewable energy has surpassed fossil fuels worldwide as the main source of new electricity generation, the latest report from the International Energy Agency has found. The premier global energy rese... […]
- United Engine Corporation (UEC) Presents Russian Developments for Gas Transport and Power Generation in China on November 12, 2018 at 6:08 pm
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Media OutReach - November 13, 2018 - United Engine Corporation (part of the Rostec State Corporation) has presented Russian developments in the field of gas turbine units for gas tran... […]
- Power generation falls below 4,000MW as Discos reject load on November 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm
Total electricity generation in the country has remained below 4,000 megawatts in recent months as low load demand by distribution companies tops the list of factors causing idle capacity in power ... […]
- Considering Blockchain In The Electricity Industry on November 12, 2018 at 4:40 pm
State PUCs typically regulate, among other things, the siting of generation resources and retail sales of electricity in their respective states. FERC regulates wholesale sales of electricity in inter... […]
- Lazard Levelized Cost Of Energy Analysis #12 Highlights Lower Cost Of Renewables on November 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm
In the summary to its latest report, Lazard says, “Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis #12 shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies ... […]
- Central Puerto: 147 MW of New Renewable Capacity, 162% Increase in Gross Profits and 12% Increase in Energy Generation on November 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Central Puerto S.A (“Central Puerto” or the “Company”) (NYSE:CEPU), the largest private sector power generation company in Argentina, as measured by generated power, reports its consolidated financial ... […]
- India Records Highest Quarterly RE Share In Power Generation on November 12, 2018 at 10:20 am
India has recorded perhaps its highest-ever renewable energy penetration in overall energy generation in the quarter of July-September 2018. The event is on expected lines after the country ... […]
- Silver Bear Resources Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer and Power Generation Incentive Program on November 12, 2018 at 9:26 am
TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Silver Bear Resources Plc (“Silver Bear” or the “Company”) (TSX: SBR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Vadim Ilchuk as President and Chief Execu... […]
via Bing News