It seems to be an exciting week for energy harvesting as I came across a post about a new power generating fabric on IEEE’s Spectrum. The fabric has both solar and motion potential, which means it can be activated through sunlight or movement like wind . This is great news since most harvesting materials are only able to utilize one method. The solar cells are constructed with polymer fibers and then woven into a fine cable which joins other micro cables with embedded nano-generators. These generators are triboelectric, which means they produce a charge from static between the materials. Here’s more from the creators:
“The hybrid power textile could be extensively applied not only to self-powered electronics but also possibly to power generation on a larger scale,”Zhong Lin Wang at Georgia Tech, Xing Fan at Chongqing University in Chongqing, China, and their colleagues write in a research published today in the journal Nature Energy.
I’m going to be camping soon and I noticed the post suggested tents as a possible future use. These structures have sloping angles and are usually in direct sunlight or breezes. Not only is this a great idea, but it is a portable one. One of the reasons for developing the fabric according to the team’s abstract was to allow for a material that could be foldable for simple transport and storage.
So far the fabric is doing well with a squarish 4cm x 5cm piece generating up to 2V in a minute on a 2 mF capacitor. With the help of an industrial loom the fabric will have the ability to be produced larger, with even more uses. Perhaps in the future a smartwatch will gain a fabric band and lose a charging station. It’s nice to see progress on tech that will be practical for daily use, encouraging walks outside and natural power. If you are looking for practical alternative ways of charging your portable electric devices, you should take a look at our Pocket Socket 2. It’s a hand-held crank that allows you to connect with a USB plug. It also comes with a wall-adapter/converter. So, no matter where you are, you can crank some power. Sounds like another good camping item!
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