Liquid-solid Interface Triboelectric Nanogenerator
TheNFAPost Podcast

New Delhi, NFAPost: IIT Delhi researchers have developed a device called “Liquid-solid Interface Triboelectric Nanogenerator” which can generate electricity from water drops, raindrops, water streams and even from the ocean using an effect called “Triboelectric Effect” and “Electrostatic Induction”.

It’s made of specially designed nanocomposite polymers and contact electrodes. It can generate a few milliwatt of power, which can power small electronic devices like watches, healthcare sensors.

IIT-Delhi in a statement said the device has a very simple structure consisting of specially designed nanocomposite polymers and contact electrodes.

“It can generate a few milliwatts (mW) of power, which is sufficient to power small electronic devices like watches, digital thermometers, radio frequency transmitters, healthcare sensors, pedometers. When compared to conventional methods, such as the use of the piezoelectric effect, the present device can generate significantly more electricity,” states IIT-Delhi.

Neeraj Khare, a professor of physics, and his group at the Nanoscale Research Facility (NRF) at IIT-Delhi have been working on harvesting electrical energy from mechanical vibrations using the triboelectric effect. The group has filed an Indian patent on the various aspects of the use of ferroelectric polymer for harvesting mechanical energy including the present device.

According to Neeraj Khare Triboelectric effect has been a known phenomenon for a long time, and in this effect, charges are generated when two surfaces are in friction.

“The best example we see are sparkling lights when we move the blankets/jackets. It is only lately that it has been extensively investigated as a practical alternative for energy harvesting,” said Neeraj Khare.

The researchers successfully incorporated nanostructures into a polymer matrix, which enhanced the film’s surface roughness, polarizability, and hydrophobicity, among other characteristics, as a result.

Due to the enhancement in the above property, the flexible film is used to fabricate the device where raindrops have just to slide down and can generate electricity. The artificially created rough surface allows to generate more charge and superhydrophobic properties of the solid surface help to roll the water drop without getting stick to the surface.

The IIT Delhi research team also explored the underlying mechanism of the electricity generated when the water drop comes in contact with the solid surface and it is shown that saline water drops generate more electricity.

The researchers also showed that the device can even work with ocean waves, where the water is saline, and through the ocean waves contacting the surface of nanocomposite polymer film, electricity is generated.

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