Scientists at the Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) successfully devised a procedure to produces electricity from water at room temperature without using any external energy. Materials used for creation of electricity included Nanoparous magnesium ferrite, Silver and Zinc.
In the process, nanoparous magnesium ferrite was used to split water into hydronium (H3O) and hydroxide (OH) ions. Silver and Zinc were used as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity. The team that devised the procedure was led by Dr. RK Kotnala.
The hydroelectric cell that uses magnesium ferrite of 1 sq. inch size produces 8 mA current and 0.98 volt. Dr, Kotnala said that on connecting four cells of 2-inch diameter in series the voltage increases to 3.70 volts and can operate a small plastic fan and a LED light of 1 Watt.
How it works?
Magnesium’s high affinity for hydroxide allows it to split water into hydronium and hydroxide ions. Then, the hydronium ions get trapped inside the nanopores of magnesium ferrite and generate an electric field that helps in further dissociation of water. Magnesium ferrite is made as an oxygen-deficient material and has plenty of oxygen vacancies.
To enhance the activity of magnesium ferrite, about 20 per cent of magnesium is replaced with lithium, which will help in enhancing the sensitivity of magnesium ferrite. This is helpful in dissociating water at room temperature as the electrons get trapped in the oxygen deficient sites.
According to a paper published in the International Journal of Energy Research, magnesium ferrite of 2-inch diameter produces 82 mA current and 0.9 volt. Now, the hydroelectric cell material design has been improved and a 2-inch diameter material generates 150 mA current and 0.9 V.
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