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Cheap source of Electricity? Indian Scientist makes a Cell that can produce Electricity from Water, also seeks Commercialisation of Invention

Team proved the workability of producing electricity from water at room temperature without the use of any chemicals after working on it for 13 years

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A dam in India, Wikimedia
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New Delhi, Dec 20, 2016: A top scientist at National Physics Laboratory (NPL) here said that industry should come forward to commercialise the concept of the hydroelectric cell as it has the potential to be a very cheap source of electricity.

The inventor of the cell that produces electricity from water, R.K. Kotnala, the Chief Scientist at NPL, urged industry leaders to come forward and help improve the workability of the cell, which, he said, can be a great source of green energy.

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“It is a portable source of electricity as it can be used as a dry cell (like the common battery used in torches, remotes). And once it goes into production, will be cheaper than solar energy,” Kotnala told IANS in an interview.

“In case of wind energy, electricity can be produced using local sources only, plus a single windmill won’t do, you have to build a series, which is very expensive. None of these factors can be a hindrance with the hydroelectricity cell,” he added.

He said that there is no potential harm from the battery upon disposal as no chemicals are used in its making.

A team led by Kotnala proved the workability of producing electricity from water at room temperature without the use of any chemicals after working on it for 13 years.

“We spent the first 11 years in working out the principle of the technology, and two years on building the device,” Kotnala said.

The results were published in the International Journal of Energy Research (IJER) in June this year under the title “Green Hydroelectrical Energy Source Based on Water Dissociation by Nano-porous Ferrite”.

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The team used nano-porous magnesium ferrite to split water into hydronium (H3O) and hydroxide (OH) ions spontaneously, and silver and zinc as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity.

Using magnesium ferrite which was two inches in diametre, they were able to produce current of 86-110 milli-ampere and voltage of 0.9 volts, which is enough to charge a small plastic fan or an LED bulb of one watt.

“For the last 70 years, research was going on around the world on how to dissociate water molecules to create energy, but we were the first ones to do it,” Kotnala said, adding that all the components and raw materials were from India.

The path-breaking work done by Kotnala straddles three different disciplines of science — chemistry, physics and material science — and can be claimed to be the biggest breakthrough in the world of batteries since 1980, when the working principle for the lithium-ion battery was demonstrated by scientist John Bannister Goodenough.

The lithium-ion battery was commercialised by Sony in 1991 and since then has become the indispensable innard of every consumer-electronic device, laptop, smart-phone, DSLR, etc.

Kotnala, whose research experience spans 32 years, most of it on solar cells, is proud of the fact that the whole enterprise was an Indian affair from the beginning. He also said that it has a strong chance of revolutionalising the green energy field at a time nations around the globe are trying to find means to curtail their carbon-footprints.

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He also admitted the limitations of the prototype cell and added that the most important thing was that it worked in principle, and the concept now can be made refined by degrees.

“Since we can muster just so many resources at the lab, the model is not devoid of limitations. But that can be addressed once we have the right backing,” he added. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?