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Novel Low Cost Environmental Energy Harvester

Project Description

I. Clear aim and hypothesis

This project, using droplet-generated triboelectricity, aims to demonstrate scalable, low-cost, efficient rain energy harvester that can be employed for a variety of purposes from miniature harvesting device for autonomous systems to roof-tops and windows large scale panel harvester for home energy supply. It is hypothesised that water droplets directly originated or stored from rain, running on a (super)-hydrophobic surface can be used as very efficiency promotors of triboelectric ‘clean’ energy to be collected using an interconnected array of electrodes.

II. Methodology and innovations

A simple set of electrodes deposited on the surface theoretically suffice to collect the triboelectric energy. In this project, several designs of electrodes and their interconnectivity will be evaluated in parallel with electronics design for energy management and storage. Low-cost fabrication material and method will be considered to produce the harvester surface. The harvester efficiency will be evaluated against electrode material and design as well the surface material. The droplets could be formed directly on the surface of the harvester or stored in small volume for release in self-propelled Laplace pressure driven droplet actuation devices.

The successful candidate will join the Microengineering and Microfluidics Research Group, a multidisciplinary group with a track record of prototype design and manufacture. The group has extensive experience in digital microfluidics and droplet-surface interaction. General innovation in energy harvesting technologies will be sought by pushing forward the current knowledge of surface science, nanofabrication, electronic energy management and microfluidics. It is believed that the highly publishable outcomes that this topical project can generate could also result in short term product commercialisation.

Application Web Page

Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at

The final deadline for application is 12 April 2019.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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