Researchers have built an electricity generator that can harvest energy from the most gentle movements. They say their device can produce a steady current to power consumer electronics using a gentle breeze, flowing water from a tap or normal body movement.
The Georgia Tech and Chinese Academy of Sciences team, led by materials science and engineering professor Zhong Lin Wang, report the generator creates electricity by harvesting static from a rotating disc that rubs against another stationary one. This static electricity generation, a phenomenon called the triboelectric effect, is the same that causes people who have shuffled their shoes across a carpet to get a shock when they touch something else.
Their work is reported in the journal Nature Communications today. In it, Wang’s team demonstrates the hand-sized triboelectric generator (TEG) recharging a smartphone and powering LEDs, a digital alarm clock and a wireless transmitter. They say the four-inch-diameter device is already sufficiently low-cost and energy-dense to operate electronics and could be ratcheted up to large-scale power generation.
Click through for more images and to see how much power the device puts out.
Over the last three years, electric vehicle sales in the US have been steadily increasing but only adding a small number of new buyers every year, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. In Europe, meanwhile, countries like Germany have seen numbers stagnate. One of the biggest issues facing the wider uptake of electric cars is the still-lagging battery technology.
If engineers could increase batteries’ energy storage capacity and decrease the time needed to charge them, the lithium-ion batteries used in modern electric vehicles would become much more efficient. This improvement is just what the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland is targeting. Researchers there are working with the elements germanium and silicon, which they say could double battery life even after being charged and discharged more than 1,000 times.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists announced they have made a significant step towards achieving ignition, a process needed to make fusion energy viable. For the first time ever, researchers say they have gotten more energy out of fusion fuel than what they poured into it to start a reaction.
Energy could in theory be teleported over any distance, researchers in Japan say. The science team behind the discovery said such quantum energy transfer could help advance quantum computers and shed light on the mysteries of black holes.
Teleporting an object from one point in the universe to another without it traveling through the space in between might sound like part of a Star Trek episode, but scientists have actually been doing it since the 1990s. The current long-distance record for teleportation is roughly 89 miles, a feat that was announced in 2012 between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife off the northwest coast of Africa.