New high-performance and durable textile-based wearable energy harvesters reported
5 March 2021
New research published by Qinrong He from Dr Joe Briscoe's group, in collaboration with Dr Han Zhang, demonstrates piezoelectric energy harvesters produced on e-textiles that can harvest energy from body movement to power portable electronic devices and sensors.
The research, published in the journal Nano Energy, makes use of piezoelectric zinc oxide nanorods grown using chemical methods on top of the textile fibres, which generate electricity when bent, compressed or stretched. The nanorods are coated in a semiconducting polymer material, and the whole device is encapsulated in a PDMS elastomer making it highly bendable, stretchable and durable.
These energy harvesters, also known as 'nanogenerators' are a developing technology which is seen as a key route to provide power to the ever-increasing amount of portable and wireless electronic devices in use today and the future, including wireless sensor nodes that are critical for the development of smart materials and an 'Internet of Things' (IoT). The devices demonstrated in this paper, being based on a commercial e-textiles, enable energy to be harvested from our everyday movements for use in such applications.