Let snow, snow, snow. UCLA researchers designed a device that generates electricity from falling snow.
The first-class machine of its kind also serves as a meteorological station capable of calculating the direction, volume and speed of precipitation and wind.
Small, thin and flexible, the triboelectric nanogenerator (Snow TENG) based on snow generates charge through static electricity, producing energy from the electron exchange.
Static electricity is generated when the material captured by the electrons fills the materials they release.
In this case, the snow is positively filled and gives up electronics. Therefore, scientists had to find the right negative stuff with which they would pair it.
"After we tested a large number of materials, including aluminum foil and Teflon, we found that silicon produces more filling than any other material," said co-author Maher El-Kadi, an assistant researcher for chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA.
About 30 percent of the Earth's surface every winter is covered with snow, blocking sunlight and rendering solar panels ineffective. The new device, however, can be integrated into the solar array to provide continuous power supply when it snores.
El-Kadi and Co also have high hopes for winter sports integration – to improve athletic performance – and imagine that their invention is in use in the new generation of self-propelled carriers.
3D printing and the high prevalence of silicon in the industry mean that the device can be manufactured at low cost, according to UCLA senior author and professor Richard Canner.
The complete details of the device were published in the magazine Nano Energy.
Kaner and El-Kadi have previously designed a gadget that can use solar energy to inefficiently and effectively create and store energy in order to power electronics and generate hydrogen fuel for environmentally friendly cars.
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