Unsurprisingly, researchers have been trying to find a new way to harness hydroelectricity for years. The reigning idea was to push ionic fluids through a pressure gradient. Problem is, pressure gradients aren’t exactly easy to come by, so the process was impractical for creating large amounts of electricity. But, as it turns out, if you drag salt water over graphene, then you get electricity in return. Without the use of a pressure gradient.
When the water is pulled over graphene, its charge becomes unbalanced. The graphene’s electrons are desorbed on one end and reabsorbed on the other end, meaning the graphene generates electricity across itself as the water slides down.