Electricity from water – the exciting way

By Marcus Wilson 14/01/2011

Forget conventional hydroelectric installations – if you want to have fun generating electricity in the lab then the completely static tin can and bucket generator is for you. They are all the rage at the moment – at least in our lab here, where we’ve sidetracked a student from his summer project into making one to wheel out on Open Day. (It is, actually, vaguely related to what the student is doing for his project, so it’s not a complete sidetrack.)

Anyway, there are lots of clips on YouTube of these devices. Walter Lewin does a good job (of course) of demonstrating one.   Basically, you have two dripping water streams (from the same ultimate source – e.g. a bucket) Each stream falls through a metal ring and into a metal bucket. But – the bit that makes it work is that you electrically-connect the left hand ring to the righ-hand bucket, and vice versa.  This leads to a nice build up of charge in the buckets and sparks can fly between them.


0 Responses to “Electricity from water – the exciting way”

  • Good one have been looking at this myself lately, very interesting phenomenon. They are calling it Lord Kelvins’ Water Drop Electrostatic Generator. Victor Schauberger was a water wizard and had a water vortex electric generator. I find it amazing in this day and age when the properties of water don’t seem to be fully investigated and the vortex is almost completely ignored (considering according to modern theory there is a super massive black hole powering the universe) . Well maybe it is something for future generations to look into.

  • There is a bit of interest in what water does electrostatically and how much energy you can extract electrically just from a flowing stream of water. It might not be much (i.e. won’t be powering your electric oven) but there could be enough there perhaps to power a small computer chip, which would open up intersting possibilities for power sources in remote locations.