This article is part of a news series where we highlight the latest research from our Treesearch partners and within the Treesearch thematic research areas. Articles are published on a regular basis.
Triboelectric nanogenerators – so-called TENGs – have received increasing attention for their broad usage in energy harvesting devices as well as their striking energy conversion efficiency. TENGs function through a mechanism called triboelectrification using two tribolayers with different charge polarities.
Renyun Zhang, Christina Dahlström, and Magnus Norgren together with their research team from Mid Sweden University (MIUN) have succeeded in developing a fully green TENG (FG-TENG) from cellulose-based materials such as regenerated cellulose. Commercial cellophane was used as tribolayers and graphite foils as electrodes. With a power density of 307 W m-2, the FG-TENG operates not only on a similar level as fluoropolymer-based TENGs, but it has also reached a new record in output power density for green material TENGs.
As demand for massive energy production with TENGs rises, the issue of fabricating them with environmentally friendly materials has become more pressing. Different cellulose-based materials have been explored in previous research, but cellulose has generally been considered suboptimal due to its low charge affinity and low triboelectric effect. MIUN’s research highlights the great potential of cellulose-based materials in producing environmentally friendly TENGs.
An FG-TENG as presented in this study can be used in a broad range of applications, for example as emergency indicators or LED lamps. FG-TENGs form a new approach for future research and development of sustainable energy conversion and generation.
Zhang, R. , Dahlström, C. , Zou, H. , Jonzon, J. , Hummelgård, M. , Örtegren, J. , Blomquist, N. , Yang, Y. & et al. (2020). Cellulose-Based Fully Green Triboelectric Nanogenerators with Output Power Density of 300 W m−2. Advanced Materials, vol. 32: 38