Researchers at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Engineering
have discovered a new and non-polluting way of generating
electricity from flowing water - a story that grabbed international
attention when it broke on The PEGG's deadline last month.
The technology could provide a new power source for devices
such as mobile phones or calculators, or even contribute to
a nation's power grid.
The research was published last month by the Institute of
Physics' Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. It
reveals a new method of generating electric power by harnessing
the natural electrokinetic properties of a liquid such as
ordinary tap water when it is pumped through tiny microchannels.
The research was led by U of A professors Dr. Daniel Kwok,
a thermodynamicist, and Dr. Larry Kostiuk, P.Eng., a nanofabrication
researcher. With the assistance of two graduate students,
the team was able to illuminate a real light bulb by exploiting
the coupling between electrokinetic phenomena and the hydrodynamics
of liquid flow.