Scientists get electricity from wood immersed in water

According to an article published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, transpiration, the process by which water moves through a plant, occurs constantly in nature and produces small amounts of electricity, known as bioelectricity.

According to Yuanyuan Li, assistant professor in the University Center’s Department of Biocomposites, with a little wood nanoengineering and pH adjustment, small but promising amounts of electrolyte can be obtained.

He explained that for the time being they had only achieved what was necessary for the operation of small devices, such as an LED lamp or a calculator.

“If we wanted to power a laptop, we would need about a square meter of wood one centimeter thick and about two liters of water. For an ordinary house, we would need much more materials and water than that, so we have to keep investigating.”

The researchers altered the nanostructure of wood and improved its properties in terms of surface area, porosity, surface charge, ease of passage of water through the material, and the aqueous solution itself, all of which affect the generation of electricity in the wood. .

Then they compared the porous structure of ordinary wood with the obtained improved materials, and measurements showed ten times higher electricity generation using the latter.

Lee explained that further modulating the pH difference between wood and water, due to the ion concentration gradient, results in a voltage of up to one volt and a noticeable power output of 1.35 microwatts per square centimeter.

He determined that the wood was capable of providing a high voltage for two or three hours before it began to decay.

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He said that the wood has so far passed 10 cycles with water without reducing its performance.

He stressed that the great advantage of this technology is that wood can be easily used for other purposes once it has been depleted as an energy source, for example, as transparencies, wood foam and various biocomposites.


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