The efficient production of electricity from raindrops is getting closer.

A research team led by scientists from the City University of Hong Kong has developed a electricity generator from drops (DEG), characterized by a structure similar to that of a field effect transistor (FET) which allows high efficiency in energy conversion and instantaneous power density multiplied by thousands compared to its counterparts without similar structure to that of a FET. This would help advance scientific research on hydropower production and tackle the energy crisis.

The research was jointly conducted by Professor Wang Zuankai from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at CityU, Professor Zeng Xiao Cheng from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Professor Wang Zhong Lin, Founding Director and Chief Scientist of the Institute. nanoenergy and Chinese nanosystems. Beijing Academy of Sciences. Their findings were published in the latest issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature, entitled “A drop-based electricity generator with high instantaneous power density“.

Hydropower is nothing new. About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. However, energy from waves, tides and even raindrops is not efficiently converted into electrical energy due to the limitations of current technology.

For example, a conventional drop power generator based on the triboelectric effect can generate electricity when a drop hits a surface. However, the efficiency of energy conversion is quite low.


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To improve conversion efficiency, the research team spent two years developing the DEG. Its instantaneous power density can reach up to 50.1 W / m2, thousands of times higher than other similar devices without the use of a FET type design. And the energy conversion efficiency is remarkably higher.

Research also shows that reducing relative humidity does not affect the efficiency of power generation. In addition, rainwater and seawater can be used to generate electricity.

Producing energy from raindrops instead of oil and nuclear power can facilitate sustainable development around the world.

Professor Wang.

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