The emergence of mobile and portable electronics is demanding for a sustainable mobile energy source. The most common ways of charging these devices are through capacitors and batteries. These both ways have limited lifetime. Hence, the need for long durable and sustainable mobile energy source is motivating manufacturers to create new energy sources.
Scientists have purposed nanogenerators to be used as an alternative and sustainable source of energy. Nanogenerators convert thermal and/or mechanical energy produced due to a small-scale physical activity into electrical signals. Utilization of this technology is expected to fulfill the demand for mobile sustainable energy source. Nanogenerators work on either of three approaches, namely pyroelectric, triboelectric, and piezoelectric effects. Among these, pyroelectric nanogenerators convert thermal energy into electrical energy, whereas, triboelectric (TENG) and piezoelectric generates electricity from mechanical energy.
Advantages of TENG generators and their Future Applications
TENG generators have gained traction from numerous researchers and scientists due to their ability to produce a high output and the high energy-conversion efficiency. The coupling of electrostatic induction and triboelectrification is leveraged by TENG generators. The physical contacts between triboelectric layers produce triboelectric charges. This process is called triboelectrification. The layers involved in this process are prepared with different materials having distinct electron affinities.
Researchers from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology’s Department of Chemical Engineering in collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology and the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems have developed an ultra-lightweight cut paper-based SCPU (PC-SCPU), which is able to power portable electronics devices. Pressing and releasing the PC-SCPU for a few minutes had generated sufficient electricity to charge wearable such as watch, temperature sensor, or a remote control. This technology can become a portable charger that can power mobile devices in the coming future.