Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Belgium and Toronto in Canada have developed a system for producing electricity in a reliable, compact and environmentally friendly way. As? After a decade of research, they managed to invent a new material capable of generating energy from vibrations, exploiting the effect piezoelectric. But let's proceed with order.
The challenge of clean energy
In recent years, finding new ways to produce clean energy has become a priority for many scientists. The purposes? Many. Energy production, environmental protection, fight against climate change. With these goals in mind, the engineering team devised a piezoelectric material to make environmentally friendly and high-performance nanogenerators.
Asif Khan, a researcher at the University of Waterloo who led the study, is serious. He believes that this innovation will allow people to depend less on polluting and non-renewable energy sources.
How and when, though? In fact I can't tell you if I have good vibes about this. Can you find out more?
The new nanogenerator: a jewel of technology
Researchers have developed a unique large crystal based on a molecular metal-halide compound, called "Edabco - copper chloride". And exploiting the Jahn-Teller effect, (characterized by the spontaneous distortion of the geometry of a crystalline field) managed to create highly efficient nanogenerators. How tall? Much.
Asif Khan explains that these devices display unprecedented power. They are capable of capturing even the slightest mechanical vibrations in any dynamic situation. For details, I link the study at the bottom of the article.
"Portable" energy from vibrations
The nanogenerator created is very small. It has a side of only 2,5 cm and is similar in thickness to a business card. Dayan Ban, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, believes this makes it perfect for integration into the sensors of connected electronic devices, pacemakers, sonar, spacecraft and many others.
Think: human heartbeats could power the sensors in a pacemaker; vibrations from an airplane could drive the aircraft's sensory monitoring systems.
For more information, you can consult the published article on Nature Communications.