Switzerland researchers have discovered a new source of energy from wooden floorings

Sep, 2021 - By SMI

Switzerland researchers have discovered a new source of energy from wooden floorings

The nanogenerator allows the wood to produce electricity from human footfall. They also enhanced the wood used in their nanogenerator by silicone coating and integrate it with nanocrystals.

The researchers started by converting wood into a nanogenerator by encasing two pieces of functionalized wood between electrodes. When stepped on, the wood pieces become electrically charged through periodic contacts and separations, similar to a shirt-clinging sock just out of the dryer, a process known as the triboelectric effect. Electrons can move from one thing to another, producing electricity.

Moreover, the wood is triboneutral, which indicates it has no tendency to gain or lose electrons, limiting the material's ability to create energy, and making a wood that can attract and lose electrons is difficult. To improve the triboneutral property of wood, the researchers covered one-piece with polymethyl siloxane, a silicone that acquires electrons upon contact, while functionalizing the other piece with sound grown nanocrystals known as zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8). ZIF-8 is a composite network of organic molecules and metal ions with a strong tendency to lose electrons.

The researchers discovered that a triboelectric nanogenerator composed of radially cut spruce, a type of wood found in Europe, gave the best results. The treatments when combined, improved the performance of the triboelectric nanogenerator, which produced 80 times more electricity than natural wood. The device's generation of electricity was also consistent under constant stresses for around 1,500 cycles. The researchers discovered that a wood floor prototype with a surface area barely smaller than a piece of paper may generate enough energy to power home LED lighting as well as small electronic gadgets.

Wood nanogenerators could aid in the promotion of wood as a green energy source in smart buildings. Wood construction has the potential to help lessen climate change by isolating CO2 from the environment over the material's lifetime. The next stage of the team is to further enhance the Nanogenerator using more eco-friendly and easier-to-implement chemical coatings.

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