From the faucet to the toilet, to the rain falling on the roof, there’s lot of water flowing in and around the average household. Since flowing water can produce energy, people have come up with all sorts of contraptions to do just that.
A graduate student in Britain, for example, designed a system that funneled the rushing water from the sink, toilet or bathtub through four turbine blades powering a generator, kind of a mini-hydroelectric dam in your own home.
But a team of researchers in Korea have shown that it doesn’t take a turbine or rushing water to generate power. A few drops will do.
Prof. Youn Sang Kim and his team at Seoul National University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) have adapted a transducer to convert the mechanical energy from water motion into electrical energy.
No turbines or complicated machines were required. A droplet flowing through thin layers of special materials that interact with it managed to create an electrical charge that illuminated an LED (light emitting diode).
The same operating principle, Youn Sang Kim said in an email to The Washington Post, would work with any water movement, whether generated by a wave, or vibration or dipping or, yes, the flush of a toilet.