Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare
Computer Science
26 May 2016

Researchers Create Nanogenerator That Harvests Both Wind And Solar Energy To Power IoT Devices

Our world's heavy reliance on fossil fuels to provide for global power demand, which are proving to be scarcer by the day is the biggest challenge facing our scientists who need powerful energy sources to run new age technologies such as smart mobile devices based on Internet of Things (IoT). There certainly has to be an alternative to this energy supply problem and now an international team of researchers from U.S. and China has collaborated on a project where they propose 'Efficient Scavenging of Solar and Wind Energies in a Smart City'. In their research work, the researchers present a single device - a nanogenerator - that can harvest both solar and wind energy to power our ever-growing network of smart communication devices.

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Demo model of the project where the nanogenerator installed on rooftop provides enough energy to power the entire smart house below it.
With the growth of IoT based devices and technologies, the world is at a point where it needs a sustainable power source to supply energy to an entire smart city. Though the technologies in use today are capably of harvesting solar energy, it is the case of wind energy which needs to be addressed. Since traditional wind turbine generators which are huge in volumes need to be installed in outskirts of the city, large amounts of wind energy is wasted.

Therefore, the research team has come up with a new hybridised nano-generator that consists of a solar cell (SC) and a tribo electric nano generator (TENG) which harvest both wind & solar energies and can be easily installed on building rooftops. The nanogenerator has been designed such that it occupies space as small as 120 mm × 22 mm and with the solar chip delivering about 8 mW of power, whereas the TENG up to 26 mW. It's important to note here that ~ 1 milliWatt can light up 100 small LEDs.
If such nano-generators are installed on sufficient number of rooftops, the hybrid device could help us power entire smart cities. What are your thoughts about the power need for future IoT based smart homes and smart cities? Share with us in comments section below.

Source: American Chemical Society (ACS)

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