How to ‘scavenge’ power from our surroundings
Researchers at Flinders University, South Australia are looking at ways to scavenge invisible power from low-frequency vibrations in the surrounding environments, including wind, air or static electricity.
It aims to create an energy source that doesn’t need a wireless or mains power source with applications like a pacemaker that can work with inbuilt organic sources in the human body.
“These so-called triboelectric nanogenerators (or ‘TENGs’) can be made at low cost in different configurations, making them suitable for driving small electronics such as personal electronics like mobile phones, biomechanics devices in pacemakers, sensors (temperature/pressure/chemical) and more,” Flinders University college of science and engineering professor Youhong Tang says.
Further research aims to further develop this renewable form of energy harvesting by designing simple fabrication from cheap and sustainable materials, with high efficiency.
“They can use non-invasive materials, so could one day be used for implantable and wearable energy harvesting aims,” Nano Energy co-lead author and PhD candidate Mohammad Khorsand says.
The latest paper uses AI-enhanced mathematical modelling to compare the function of the number of segments, rotational speed and tribo-surface spacing of an advanced TENG prototype to optimise the storage and performance.