Every day, we use a variety of tablets, phones, appliances and devices of all kinds to care for us and our home. At the same time, energy consumption is increasing. Given that our need for this valuable resource is increasing on a daily basis, we can come to the logical conclusion that a new energy problem is building up. Fortunately, scientists investigated the problem of energy scarcity and possibly found the most abundant and sustainable source of renewable energy.
How does a triboelectric nanogenerator work?
Even in ancient Greece they have noticed that when you rub a piece of amber on the fur of an animal, it starts to attract small particles and dust. The phenomenon in which two different materials exchange charge during friction is commonly referred to as a "triboelectric effect". It was this that inspired scientists to seek a way to collect static energy from the ocean, the air and even the movement of our bodies.
In 2012, a team of scientists developed the first triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). TENG works on a similar principle to static electricity: two materials that differ in their structure exchange energy and accumulate opposing charges. When electrodes and wires are attached to such oppositely charged structures, the resulting current can charge some types of devices.
A team of researchers conducted several experiments that revealed that the energy generated would be enough to run a standard light bulb when putting a 1000-ball grid into the ocean. For example, a 500-meter-long power grid can generate energy for a small town. The scientists do not want to stop at the results obtained and plan to create a matrix to produce spheres with an area that roughly corresponds to the state of Georgia.
See also: "The second sun of the earth": the thermonuclear future of China and unlimited energy
Shoes with connections for charging the phone
In China, triboelectrically powered air filters are being sold thanks to the new TENG technology. In addition, it is planned to launch shoes with nanogenerators and charger connections over the next two years. During an active walk, the shoes generate enough energy to charge the phone and other modern devices.
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It should be noted that most new technologies have many shortcomings. As is so often the case, the invented energy source is already criticized by environmental activists because there is no information about the potential damage of the latest generators for life in the sea. In addition, the question of whether it is possible to mass-produce and put into practice ball generators does not yet have its own worthy answer.