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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rain-Powered Energy ?

In Sensing the Environment with ICT on July 7th, I noted that "We need to look towards the development of very low-cost wireless devices that can be distributed widely, last indefinitely and run independently of the electricity grid". I had sun-powered devices in mind, but it seems that there is a potential complement to this with rain-powered devices. "French scientists have built a piezoelectric material that generates voltage when it is bent by the impact of a raindrop. Large drops can generate enough power to run small outdoor sensors" (Popular Mechanics May 2008). A more scientific description can be found at

Don’t think that this will bring enough power to be an alternative to solar or wind power for large scale energy use. But, if it is enough to support an outdoor sensor, it provides a complementary capability for remote sensing devices to provide monitoring of environmental and other important sustainability criteria. There might be applications to the agricultural industry and oil and gas sector, among others.

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