RAN Technology

DIY DEG - Homemade Droplet Energy Generator works!


Technical 0 Comments 03/30/2022 

Producing electricity from flowing water

Posted By: Robert Nickels (ranickels)

I'm not ready to publish a description of exactly HOW it works, but 20 minutes effort with scissors and tape produced a prototype  Droplet Energy Generator that allows me to say for sure that IT WORKS!

I duplicated the design shown in this video.   I wrapped a scrap of plastic in aluminum foil, then applied a strip of double-sided tape and to that attached a piece of PTFE thread-locking tape (a 260" x 1/2" roll sells for 53 cents at the hardware store).   I then applied duct tape to provide an insulated handle and a narrow strip to insulate the contact which I cut from aluminum tape (used for sealing joints in ductwork).   All in all the cost of materials is a few pennies!

A multimeter was attached to the two foil contacts and drops of water applied - voila!  A few dozen millivolts resulted.    It became clear that creating a stream of droplets was the hardest part of the experiment so I took it to the kitchen sink, set the faucet to as small a stream as I could, and here is the result   VIDEO

The small trickle of water produced a fairly consistent voltage in excess of 1/10th of a volt.   Now who would have bet that was possible before watching and reading this article?

What's going on here?  

One thing that is well understood is that raindrops carry an electric charge.  Another is that PTFE has a number of desirable properties:

  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Wide range of service temperature
  • Excellent dielectric properties
  • Non stick, low friction
  • No embrittlement or ageing
  • Smooth surface finish can be achieved
  • Non wetting
  • Outstanding corrosion protection
  • Electrical insulation
  • High thermal stability and flame resistance
  • Resistance to weathering
  • Food grade compliancy

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications.  It was accidentally discovered in 1938 by Roy J. Plunkett while he was working in New Jersey for DuPont. As Plunkett attempted to make a new chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant, the tetrafluoroethylene gas in its pressure bottle stopped flowing before the bottle's weight had dropped to the point signaling "empty." Since Plunkett was measuring the amount of gas used by weighing the bottle, he became curious as to the source of the weight, and finally resorted to sawing the bottle apart. He found the bottle's interior coated with a waxy white material that was oddly slippery. Analysis showed that it was polymerized perfluoroethylene, with the iron from the inside of the container having acted as a catalyst at high pressure.

PTFE's Its extremely high bulk resistivity makes it an ideal material for fabricating long-life electrets - materials that carry a semi-permanent electrical charge, the electrostatic analog to a permanant magnet.   (In fact the name electret was coined by Oliver Heavyside 1885 by combining the words electron and matnet).

In this case, this seems to be the critical property for the "rain fuel generator".   When the tiny charge of electricity on a water droplet contact most materials it dissipates quickly but as a very good insulator, the PTFE which also carries a small permanent electrical charge acts to concentrate the charge until the conductive water droplet bridges a second electrical contact that causes it to discharge.  The researchers make a comparison to the water acting like the gate of a FET, causing a burst of current to flow when it is turned on.   That's as much theory as I care to speculate on at this point but to say this is an exciting technology that is being researched all over the world is no exaggeration.

The original paper appeared in the prestigious journal NATURE in 2020 and a preview can be seen HERE

 

 


   Leo Meyerson had been in the ham radio retail and manufacturing business for over 25 years, and by 1970 he was ready to retire.  His son took over the WRL distribution and retail business but the Galaxy Electronics manufacturing operation was sold to his long-time friend Andy Andros WØLTE, founder and president of Hy Gain Electronics in nearby Lincoln NE.   The CB radio eleme...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/26/2022 
   Most of the articles on this site are about hams, or  ham radio.   This one is not about a ham but about a man who built as much a reputation through HF radio as any ham on top of the BPL ever did.    Don Taylor is one of those rugged independent-minded people who thrive on a lifestyle most of us couldn't even imagine - as a trapper in Canada's Yukon wildernes...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  10/31/2022 
    Most radio fans know the history of KDKA  but maybe not "the rest of the story".In November 1920 the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company began operation of a radio broadcasting station, KDKA, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often described as the "Pioneer Broadcasting Station of the World."  KDKA is generally considered to be the first commercially...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  09/09/2022 
   The microwave network constructed by AT&T Long Lines and other telecommunications companies in the past 50 years were engineering masterpieces using state-of-the-art technologies and some were designed to withstand nuclear attack during that Cold War era.     This is a non-hardened site on top of a mountain in upstate New York that existed long enough for graffiti taggers t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  09/08/2022 
  

The Pioneer 530

made by JAARS for Wycliffe Bible Translators
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
In 1917 a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. But he was shocked when many people couldn’t understand the books. They spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible.   He believed everyone should understand the Bible, so he started a linguistics school (the Summer Institute of Linguistics, known today as SIL) that trained people to do Bible ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/02/2022 
    Visitors to the Elgin National Historic area along the Fox River in Elgin Illinois may not realize they are at the site of a famous shortwave radio station - W9XAM - the time signal station operated by the Elgin Watch Company.Elgin was the only watch company maintaining an observatory that observed, recorded and broadcasted time from the stars correct to the hundredths of a second. Located a...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/09/2022 
  

The Mosley Commando II

Made in England and scarce even there
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
The Mosley CM-1 receiver is quite well known and not especially hard to find in the US even though it was the only radio produced by the company that has been well-known for antennas since 1939.   Or is it...?A full-page ad (advert for you on the other side of the pond) appeared in the RSGB Bulletin in 1963 for a nice looking and very capable SSB transmitter called the "Commando II&...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/15/2022 
   When I was first licensed in the 1960s in Nebraska, two groups of hams were commonly heard on the air before those with jobs got off work - other teens like me and the disabled hams.   Some of my earliest Novice ham buddies were blind students at the Nebraska School for the Blind in Nebraska City, and there were many other visually-impaired hams, all of whom were exceptional operators, e...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/21/2022 
   Old style mica capacitors were used in the pi-net matching sections of several vintage transmitters and the combination of age, heat, and high RF currents have made them likely failure items.   My Collins 32V-2 transmitter was to the point where it would not properly load to full power on 75 meters so something had to be done.   Mica capacitors are no longer made but fortunately new...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/19/2022 

VIEW News Item

Announcing the W9DYV Radio Society

honoring SSB pioneer Wes Schum W9DYV
VIEW News Item

Hamfests Return!

A quick look at the Wauseon OH swap on June 6, 2020
VIEW News Item

Making A Transistor Radio

in memory of Rev. George Dobbs G3RJV (SK)
VIEW News Item

Wes Schum, Amateur Radio's Unsung Hero

new book released, available on Amazon
VIEW News Item

Soviet Spy Radio found in forest

(oh yeah, I put that there...I'll take it now thanks!)

(There are currently no Blogs.)