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Transpiration Driven Electrokinetic Power Generator

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posted on 2019-11-01, 14:37 authored by Tae Gwang Yun, Jaehyeong Bae, Avner Rothschild, Il-Doo Kim
Transpiration is the process by which water is carried in plants from the roots to the leaves where evaporation takes place. Here, we report a transpiration driven electrokinetic power generator (TEPG) that exploits capillary flow of water in an asymmetrically wetted cotton fabric coated with carbon black. Accumulation of protons induced by the electrical double layer formed at the solid (carbon black)/liquid (water) interface gives rise to potential difference between the wet and dry sides. The conductive carbon black coating channels electrical current driven by the pseudostreaming mechanism. A TEPG of 90 mm × 30 mm × 0.12 mm yields a maximum voltage of 0.53 V, maximum current of 3.91 μA, and maximum energy density of 1.14 mWh cm–3, depending on the loading of the carbon black. Multiple TEPGs generate enough power to light up a light-emitting diode (20 mA × 2.2 V) or charge a 1 F supercapacitor.