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Pioneering Nanotechnology Captures Energy From People

Pioneering Nanotechnology Captures Energy From PeopleThe saying goes that big things come in small packages, and engineering researchers at Michigan State University are certainly believers.  Utilizing nanotechnology, the team recently unveiled a new device for generating energy with a simple touching or pressing motion. 

The device, which the MSU researchers are calling a nanogenerator, looks like a thin film.  At its core is a silicone wafer.  It is fabricated with several thin sheets of highly-conductive materials and charged ions.  Electrical energy is created when the device is compressed by human motion.  The film can even be folded.

Using the nanogenerator, MSU’s researchers have been able to operate an LCD touchscreen, a bank of 20 LED lights and a keyboard.  But Nelson Sepulveda, a lead investigator of the project, anticipates much broader applications in the near future.

“What I foresee, relatively soon, is the capability of not having to charge your cell phone for an entire week, for example, because that energy will be produced by your movement.”  Sepulveda also noted that folding the film exponentially increases the voltage it generates.  After folding the nanogenerator several times, “it may be small enough to put in a specially made heel of your shoe so it creates power each time your heel strikes the ground.”

MSU’s nanogenerator is lightweight, flexible, inexpensive to manufacture and easily scalable.  As such, a completed prototype may prove to be widely popular for a seemingly infinite number of applications.

Read the full story here.

To see how you can take control of your energy, take a look at some of the renewable energy systems and energy efficiency services available today from ConEdison Solutions

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