The old saying ‘come rain or come sunshine’ was given a ‘renewable energy’ meaning this week as a scientific magazine reported that rain, like sunlight but on a much smaller scale, has the potential to generate electric power.
The discovery was made by Jean-Jacques Chaillout and colleagues at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Grenoble, France. The group demonstrated that piezoelectric materials, which generate voltage in response to mechanical force, can be made to produce useful amounts of electrical power when hit by falling rain.
“We thought of raindrops because they are one of the still- unexploited energy sources in nature,” Chaillout told the New Scientist.
The article mentions that Chaillout’s team looked up data on different types of rainfall. “Drizzle, they found, produces droplets of about 1 millimetre in diameter which have an impact energy of around 2 microjoules, while droplets from a downpour were typically 5 millimetres across and gave 1 millijoule of impact energy.”
Rain drops would not have the potential to generate huge amounts of power, but the wider range of power sources we can find, the better. So rainy places have something to rejoice about, after all…
(image by Mila Zinkova.