Why hasn’t anyone invented electricity-generating rain gutters?

The power they would provide isn't worth the effort

Q: @chubbs5740 on Twitter asked:

A: Possible? Absolutely. Effective? Not so much. To generate enough hydropower to charge anything, you’d need a lot of downward pressure, says Bob Bass, a power engineer at Portland State University. “In a rain gutter, you don’t have that push.” You could create it by storing water on the roof, but the main problem is simple: “It doesn’t rain that much.” The best you could do with the power is run some LED lights. But don’t expect to find one in stores anytime soon.

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This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science, under the title “I Wish Someone Would Invent…Electricity-Generating Rain Gutters.”

Sara Chodosh

Sara Chodoshis an associate editor at PopSci where she writes about everything from vaccine hesitancy to extreme animal sex. She got her master's degree in science journalism at NYU's Science Health and Environmental Reporting Program, and is getting a second master's in data visualization from the University of Girona. Contact the author here.