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U Alberta Mech Engineers Make Important Energy Breakthrough, More on PLoS Biology

:: University of Alberta mechanical engineering professors Dr Daniel Kwok and Dr Larry Kostiuk (additional information here), working with two graduate students, Fuzhi Lu (L) and Jun Wang (R), have discovered a new way to produce electricity, the first such discovery in 160 years.

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Their research was the front page story in today's Edmonton Journal, and received coverage elsewhere on the Internet.

More information is available on the University of Alberta Express News site. The news of this discovery was also of personal interest to me, as I am the librarian responsible for mechanical engineering here at the U of Alberta.

Their research appears in the November 2003 issue of Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering:

    Research published today by the Institute of Physics journal, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering reveals a new method of generating electric power by harnessing the natural electrokinetic properties of a liquid such as ordinary tap water when it is pumped through tiny microchannels. The research team from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, have created a new source of clean non-polluting electric power with a variety of possible uses, ranging from powering small electronic devices to contributing to a national power grid.

    The research was led by Professor Daniel Kwok and Professor Larry Kostiuk from the University of Alberta. Professor Kostiuk said: “This discovery has a huge number of possible applications. It’s possible that it could be a new alternative energy source to rival wind and solar power, but this would need huge bodies of water to work on a commercial scale. Hydrocarbon fuels are still the best source of energy but they’re fast running out and so new options like this one could be vital in the future”.

Reference: Yang J, Lu F, Kostiuk LW, Kwok DY J Micromech Microeng 13 (November 2003) 963-970.

:: Expanding coverage of PLoS Biology: articles have appeared in EContent and CNET News.com.

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