Breakthrough hydrophobic material will turn ocean waves into electricity

<pre>Breakthrough hydrophobic material will turn ocean waves into electricity

Engineers from the University of California at San Diego, USA, have developed a new type of coating that produces electrical current from simple contact with water. It is only necessary that the water be mobile and roll over the surface of the plate. This invention can become the basis for new large-scale hydroelectric power plants.

The idea is that when ions move, atoms with an electric charge, on the surface, which also has a charge, tension will be created between them, and it will already turn into an electric current. The movement of ions is provided by moving the medium in which they are located (water in the form of a wave) rolling over the prepared surface. If it is salty sea water, then there are always ions of various hydroxides in excess, and it is easy to bring a charge to the working surface.


Know-how of Californians is that they created a surface with such a high degree of hydrophobicity that water does not wet it at all and ions do not penetrate into the material. They only glide over the surface, which allows us to generate an electric current without interference. To do this, the engineers took a semiconductor wafer of high-purity silicon, on the surface of which they etched tiny grooves and filled them with synthetic motor oil.

So far, it has been possible to achieve a voltage generation of just 0.05 V, but this is a laboratory setup where water flows in a thin stream over a tiny substrate. On the scale of at least an ordinary beach, such a facility should already be of commercial interest. After all, this is almost a reference example of green and renewable energy that does not affect the environment and can generate energy while there are waves in the sea.

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