Published on May 25, 2008
Section Green Report / Media
Energy from rainwater? If you read my blog on harvesting rain, you’re aware of the many possibilities nature provides to supplement our insatiable need for water. But some scientists at Europe’s Atomic Energy commission have taken the idea of utilizing rainwater a step (or ten) further – they’ve figured out a way to harness the energy released as a drop of rain hits a hard surface.
It’s quite simple really. A raindrop has absorbed a significant amount of energy through evaporation. That energy is increased by its height above the ground (anyone remember Potential Energy from Earth Science?). As the drop becomes too heavy to stay in a cloud, the drop begins to realize its potential, and as it hits the earth, it releases that energy in the form of mechanical force. Scientists are using piezoelectric material to capture that force and turn it into electricity.