A New Material will Turn Sunlight, Heat, and Movement Into Electricity – All at Once

There are many forms of energy around us i.e. sunlight, the heat our body produced, etc. It usually get wasted.

But scientists from University of Oulu in Finland discovered a mineral to make efficient use of these energy sources into electricity.

KBNNO, specific type of Perovskite, is a family of minerals with a specific crystal structure. It has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources all at once. This is for the first time that scientist’s uncovered one that could convert energy from all sources at room temperature.

Moreover, Perovskite solar cell have proven to be cheaper and more efficient than traditional silicon solar cells, since its invention in 2001. Even their efficiency levels increased from 3.8% in 2009 to 22.1% in 2016. It leads them the fastest-advancing solar technology to date.

Furthermore, KBNNO is a ferroelectric material filled up with tiny electric dipoles analogous to tiny compass needles in a magnet. When these ferroelectric materials undergo changes in temperature, their dipoles misalign, which induces an electric current. An electric charge also accumulates according to the direction the dipoles point and deforming the material causes certain regions to attract or repel charges, again generating a current.

It is also evident from the previous experiments that KBNNO is quite good at generating electricity from heat and pressure. The most encouraging study is that the researchers can change the composition of KBNNO to improve its pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties.

The discovery is published in Applied Physics Letters in which Yang Bai hinted to build the prototype multi-energy-harvesting device within next year.

“This will push the development of the Internet of Things and smart cities, where power-consuming sensors and devices can be energy sustainable,” Bai said.



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