With increased focus on discovering and inventing renewable technologies, we regularly hear of outstanding revelations and breakthroughs from time to time. And the breakthrough we are going to cover today is no less, as eight Georgia Tech engineers have created a method to enable your clothes to harvest energy and power your smartphone! They have devised a new type of hybrid textile that uses the sun and the cloth’s movement to harvest energy and then supply it for uses such as recharging the phone. The fabric can also be used for multiple applications such as in clothing, curtains, or tents.
This “hybrid power textile” or “hybrid energy fabric” was weaved using a commercial textile machine. The solar cells present inside the polymer fibers are able to harvest the solar energy, and the energy through movement is harvested using Triboelectric nanogenerators. When the combination is woven with wool, the result is a highly flexible, lightweight, good looking and breathable textile that can produce energy out of nothing.
The research has been published in the journal Nature Energy.
Georgia Tech professor in Materials Science and Engineering Zhong Lin Wang, who is also the co author of the paper, said in a statement, “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.”
The fabric was tested using a flag and blowing wind across it in a car out the window. Even on a cloudy day, this 4×5 centimetre flag made of the special material gathered enough energy to charge a “2 mF commercial capacitor” to 2 Volts within a minute.
This environmentally friendly fabric is now being tested for durability and endurance towards water and cold temperatures. Since the materials used are essentially cheap, the fabric can be scaled up very easily. The researchers are looking to finish the testing process as soon as possible and commercialize the product.
Would you want to wear an energy harvesting sweater? Let us know in the comments’ section below!