Wind, solar, waves, and rivers…
Could raindrops be another form of alternative, renewable, and sustainable energy?
Experimental research is underway by a team at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in France to study the feasibility of rain and energy production, according to a recent article in New Scientist (Issue 2640, 24 January 2008, page 30).
The team used piezoelectric materials, which generate electricity with mechanical stress, to capture energy from raindrops as they hit the surface. Raindrops the size of drizzle produced approximately 2 microjoules of energy, while large raindrops produced approximately 1 millijoule of energy.
“Although the output is puny compared with that of solar panels, rain power has the advantage of working in the dark and could be used to supplement solar-powered devices.”
Animated photo courtesy Ernst Schütz.