New low-cost wearable energy source from piezoelectric nanocomposite

May 9, 2012

Nanogenerator made from a piezoelectric nanocomposite (p-NC) layer between two metal-coated plastic substrates. Itproduces electricity from mechanical motion. (Credit: KAIST/Advanced Materials)

Researchers from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a new low cost, compact, large-scale energy generator technology using piezoelectric ceramic nanoparticles.

The piezoelectric effect refers to generation of electrical energy from mechanical energy, such as periodic external mechanical deformation by biomechanical movements from fingers or feet.

The team produced a piezoelectric nanocomposite by mixing BaTiO3 piezoelectric nanoparticles with multi-walled carbon nanotubes and reduced graphene oxide. It can output about 1.5V and 150nA. By storing the energy in capacitors, it can generate 2.37 V, enough to drive a stardard LED.

Uses include consumer electronics and sensor networks, and implantable biomedical devices, replacing batteries.

Ref.: Kwi-Il Park at al., Flexible Nanocomposite Generator Made of BaTiO3 Nanoparticles and Graphitic Carbons, Advanced Materials, 2012, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201200105