New Fabric Uses Sun and Wind to Power Devices

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October 10, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: October 10 on

Fabrics that can generate electricity from physical movement have been in the works for a few years. Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have taken the next step, developing a fabric that can simultaneously harvest energy from both sunshine and motion.

Combining two types of electricity generation into one textile paves the way for developing garments that could provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smart phones or global positioning systems.

“This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering.

The research was reported September 12 in the Nature Energy.

To make the fabric, Wang’s team used a commercial textile machine to weave together solar cells constructed from lightweight polymer fibers with fiber-based triboelectric nanogenerators.
 

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