Radically new device that creates electricity from falling SNOW can keep solar panels clear during the winter
- Using silicone, researchers can make electricity from snow
- The snow is positively charged and the silicone is negatively charged
- When the two collide, they create static electricity that can be harvested
- Solar panels, portable and weather instruments are among the applications
Scientists have come up with creative ways to capture the energy of almost all the most fundamental forces of nature; from water and wind, to solar energy, and now for the first time, snow.
According to researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the device, a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator or snow-TENG, uses a basic chemical reaction to create static electricity that can be used for power supply.
& # 39; Static electricity comes from the interaction of one material that captures electrons and another that gives up electrons & # 39; said Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.
& # 39; You separate the charges and create electricity from essentially nothing. & # 39;
Snow can be just as useful as wind and water when creating a source of electricity with a newly developed technology. A hiking shoe with the connected device is shown above
WHAT IS THE SNOW TU?
A simple device made by UCLA researchers is able to convert snow into electricity.
Using a piece of negatively charged silicone, scientists say they can use the positively charged snow when the two collide and produce static electricity.
The technology can be applied to solar panels that have difficulty absorbing the sun's energy when covered with snow.
The device is simple and uses only silicone and an electrode.
It can also be used to power portable technology by being held on a boat or ski.
In this case, researchers say, the snow, which is positively charged, falls on a silicone pad with a negative charge. The reaction between the two opposite charges results in static electricity.
& # 39; Snow is already charged, so we thought: why don't you bring any other material with the opposite charge and take the load out to make electricity? & # 39; said co-author Maher El-Kady.
Scientists say that the application of their technology is versatile.
First, the device could be integrated into solar panels to increase their efficiency in areas with regular snowfall.
Panels are often buried in the snow, preventing them from harvesting the sun's rays.
Researchers say the device can also be used to power portable technology that is used to track athletes' movements and performance in winter sports.
Due to the durability of the material, it can be easily applied to the bottom of a shoe or ski where it can transfer energy to another device.
Moreover, it can also serve as what the scientists call a & # 39; miniaturized weather station & # 39; by monitoring the speed of snowfall, accumulation, wind and more.
The technology is not only useful, but according to researchers it is also incredibly easy to make.
Solar panels often have problems generating electricity in areas with a lot of snowfall, because the snow blocks the sunlight
The TENG snow was printed three-dimensionally by scientists and consists only of a piece of silicone – a material that is both plentiful and affordable – that is then attached to an electrode that collects the electricity.
The device only marks the latest technological innovation for the two researchers who also recently developed a membrane that helps to separate oil from water, which can help clean the environment, and a new way to make and store energy that they say that they can make hydrogen cars more affordable.