The Piezoelectric Energy Ribbon

Renewable Energy

Globally, the buzzword today is green power! And there is no doubtthat by using renewable energy to the maximum extent, we will be able to stave off depletion of the non-renewable energy sources. However, oneof the biggest drawbacks of using renewable energy to generate power isthat the power generation is highly dependent on the availability of the natural sources – wind, sun or rain, thereby contributing to a greatdeal of uncertainty.

Considering this biggest hindrance, Elias Siores with hiscolleagues at the University of Bolton, UK, invented a 20 centimeterlong piezoelectric polymer ribbon which could generate electricity whendisturbed either by a rain drop falling, or the wind blowing on it.Greater the disturbance, greater would be the power generation. Thispiezoelectric material was then subsequently coated with polyvinylidenefluoride in an effort to maximize voltage, and thereby the powergeneration for the mildest of disturbance it encountered.

Further, this ribbon was coated with a flexible photovoltaic film and attached to electrodes to harness the power generated – the resultusually being 1-2 watts of solar energy generated from just 10 squarecentimeters of the exposed ribbon. This invention is set to appear inthe journal Smart Materials and Structures, and can be said to be unique because of the fact that it combines different forms ofrenewable energy thereby cutting out the factor of fickleness, commonlyassociated with renewable sources of energy.

However, the biggest drawback of this discovery is that since itgenerates a low output of energy, it can be best utilized only for small scale applications such as powering a cell phone. But this path canperhaps, in the long run, would be able to eliminate the ficklenessassociated with usage of renewable sources of energy.

Via: NewScientist


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