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Posted: Sep 18, 2013

Triboelectric nanogenerator harvests wind energy

(Nanowerk News) Researchers at Georgia Tech and the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, led by Xiaonan Wen and Zhong Lin Wang, report a triboelectric effect based wind energy harvester as a sustainable power source and a self-powered wind vector sensor system for wind speed and direction detection ("Triboelectric Nanogenerator for Harvesting Wind Energy and as Self-Powered Wind Vector Sensor System").
The nanogenerator consists of an fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) film and two aluminum foils connected with a ground through an external load. Its mechanism is based on the charge transfer between the aluminum electrode and the ground by utilizing the wind-induced vibration of the FEP film between the two aluminum electrodes.
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Photographs show that the triboelectric nanogenerato was used to harvest the human mouth blowing induced wind energy to drive 10 LEDs and an exit sign. (©ACS)
The integrated triboelectric nanogenerator produces an output voltage up to 100 V, an output current of 1.6 µA, and an output power of 0.16mW under a load of 100 MΩ, which can be used to light up tens of commercial LEDs.
The researchers also demonstrate an additional double-electrode-based triboelectric nanogenerator to harvest wind energy from a human blowing, and the produced electricity is enough to power an exit sign.
Moreover, the nanogenerators have been utilized to design a self-powered wind vector sensor system for detecting the wind speed and direction. The detection sensitivity of the wind speed is about 0.09 µA/(m/s). The wind direction can be determined by the analysis of the real-time measured output voltage signals as a mapping image.
This invention may push forward a significant step toward the practical applications of wind energy harvesting techniques and self-powered sensor systems.
Source: American Chemical Society
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