Published: April 21, 2014


Scientists in South Korea have come up with a way to use the mechanical energy of flowing water as a sustainable energy source. The research shows how the energy potential of flushing toilets can be utilized to help power people’s homes. According to the researchers’ experiments, the movement of a single water droplet is enough to light a green LED.

Researchers from Seoul National University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute developed a new piece of equipment that can turn simple actions like flushing a toilet into a new sustainable energy source. The key of their experiments lies in developing an electric charge within running water. Through use of special transducers, the scientists were able to convert mechanical motion into electrical power without the use of any external bias-voltage sources.

The active capacitive-transducers consist of several layers wrapped around patterned transparent electrodes. According to the team’s experiments, it can turn on a green LED through the motion of only one flowing tap water droplet. This demonstrates the wide applicability of water’s natural movement, which may also be used for large-scale water motions such as rain, rivers and even sea waves.

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