Harvesting broadband kinetic impact energy from mechanical triggering/vibration and water waves.

Research paper by Xiaonan X Wen, Weiqing W Yang, Qingshen Q Jing, Zhong Lin ZL Wang

Indexed on: 26 Jun '14Published on: 26 Jun '14Published in: ACS Nano


We invented a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) that is based on a wavy-structured Cu-Kapton-Cu film sandwiched between two flat nanostructured PTFE films for harvesting energy due to mechanical vibration/impacting/compressing using the triboelectrification effect. This structure design allows the TENG to be self-restorable after impact without the use of extra springs and converts direct impact into lateral sliding, which is proved to be a much more efficient friction mode for energy harvesting. The working mechanism has been elaborated using the capacitor model and finite-element simulation. Vibrational energy from 5 to 500 Hz has been harvested, and the generator's resonance frequency was determined to be ∼100 Hz at a broad full width at half-maximum of over 100 Hz, producing an open-circuit voltage of up to 72 V, a short-circuit current of up to 32 μA, and a peak power density of 0.4 W/m(2). Most importantly, the wavy structure of the TENG can be easily packaged for harvesting the impact energy from water waves, clearly establishing the principle for ocean wave energy harvesting. Considering the advantages of TENGs, such as cost-effectiveness, light weight, and easy scalability, this approach might open the possibility for obtaining green and sustainable energy from the ocean using nanostructured materials. Lastly, different ways of agitating water were studied to trigger the packaged TENG. By analyzing the output signals and their corresponding fast Fourier transform spectra, three ways of agitation were evidently distinguished from each other, demonstrating the potential of the TENG for hydrological analysis.