IIT team develops tech to produce energy from tap water

IIT team develops tech to produce energy from tap water

The research team of IIT Guwahati. (Photo credit: IIT Guwahati)

A team of researchers in IIT Guwahati has developed materials that can produce energy from water, on a small scale.

The researchers employed the nanoscale phenomenon called “Electrokinetic streaming potential” to harvest energy from flowing water on a small length scale like water flowing through household water taps. Similarly, the “Contrasting Interfacial Activities” different types of semiconducting materials were employed to generate power from stagnant water, said a statement issued by the IIT on Monday.

The new ways of producing energy can be employed in household environments to support the concept of decentralization of energy sources. In the centralized energy generation model, one large plant produces energy for an entire region, in contrast, the decentralized energy model introduces a large number of small generation devices that can be employed to generate in every household. The excess energy produced in households can be transported nearby areas where there is an excessive need for energy, it said.

The team led by Kalyan Raidongia of the department of chemistry said although the exploration of such electrokinetic phenomena and their possible use for energy conversion have been known for more than half a century, they have not been harnessed because of low efficiency arising from the unsuitability of channels for the fluid stream. The humble efficiency of electrokinetic streaming potential based energy generating devices is attributed to the trade-off between high flow-rate and nanofluidic confinement. The team demonstrated that power output can be improved by thousand times by attaining the best out of these parameters through biconical nanofluidic channels that interconnect tetrahedral and octahedral voids in the close-packed silica spheres.

The team also comprised of Jumi Deka, Kundan Saha, Suresh Kumar and Hemant Kumar Srivastava. The findings were recently published in the journal of ACS Applied Nanometerials, said the statement.