Saturday, May 1, 2010

Generate Electricity With Every Move You Make Every Step You Take.

Have you ever wondered generating electricity merely by walking over a distance. If not then you will be amazed to know that scientist from Georgia tech University has developed a device which can generate power from body movement.

They have used Piezoelectric materials and drawn them into nanowires that can be woven into cotton shirt or housed into shoe hill. Piezoelectric crystals have a special characteristic that when they are subjected to force or pressure they produce electric signals. Though this electric signals are very weak but by cramming 20,000 nanowires into three square cm area can produce power in millivolt range.

With every move and every step you take pressure is applied on the piezoelectric crystal and electric signal starts flowing through the electrodes. It may not be possible to turn on an electrical appliance but at least atleast cellphones and ipods can be easily charged.

Single nanowires are invisible to naked eyes. Prof Z.L.Wang and his team at Georgia tech are using Zinc Oxide nanowires to built this nano generators. This nanowires are 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter and 5 micron in length. 2 thin electrodes are used and place between this 20,000 nanowires to drive current from it.

This arrangement helps to maximize the electricity produced by piezoelectric crystals. But if the zinc oxide is replaced by Gallium Nitride the power output could increase by 10 times.

If the device is not in constant motion then the nanowires will shut off and no electricity will flow. To rectify this Prof. Wang will develop supercapacitors to store the charge generated by the nanowires. 

Till now only a prototype is made and lots of work is needed to be done. It is likely to take 3-4 years before you can actually get a cloth of nanowires and put the concept into action. Till the time hold on and wait...