NPL Scientists produce electricity from water without using energy

Scientists have developed a novel way using of producing electricity from water hydroelectric cell at room temperature without using any power or chemicals.

The major breakthrough was developed by team of scientists led by Dr. RK Kotnala from Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

How does it works?

  • In this new method, scientist had used zinc and silver as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity. They had used nanoporous magnesium ferrite to split water into hydroxide (OH) and hydronium (H3O) ions.
  • As magnesium has high affinity for hydroxide, it spontaneously splits water into hydroxide and hydronium ions. The H3O ions get trapped inside the nanopores of magnesium ferrite and generate an electric field. The electric field helps in further dissociation of water.
  • To further enhance the activity of magnesium ferrite, about 20% of magnesium is replaced with lithium. The substitution of lithium at magnesium site increases the sensitivity of magnesium ferrite.
  • This is helpful in dissociating water at room temperature as the electrons get trapped in the oxygen deficient sites.

Significance: The hydroelectric cell using magnesium ferrite of 1 sq. inch size can produce 8 mA current and 0.98 volt. Further if these four cells [of 2-inch diameter] are connected in series the voltage increases to 3.70 volts and can operate a small plastic fan or a LED light of 1 watt.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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