Finnish researchers develop material that converts heat, kinetic and solar energy into electricity
In a breakthrough research, material scientists at the University of Oulu in Finland have revealed that a type of perovskite crystal structure has properties to harvest energy from different forms of energy including heat, kinetic and solar energy and convert it into electricity.
Perovskites are family of minerals, most of which can harvest one or two type of energy at a time. For example, one perovskite is good for solar cells, there may be another good at extracting energy from pressure and temperature variation.
Yang Bai, lead researcher here, suggests that KBNNO, the newly founded perovskite material, is multitalented, and it can extract power from different forms of energy simultaneously.
According to researchers, KBNNO, like all types of perovskites, is a ferroelectric material. The mineral is filled with small electric dipoles, which are like thy compass needles. With change in temperature, the electric dipoles in KBNNO misalign and induce an electric current.
Perovskite studies conducted previously have focused on the solar energy harnessing ability of the mineral. A very little attention has been paid to the pyroelectric and piezoelectric abilities of the perovskites (ability to convert change in temperature and pressure into electricity).
With KBNNO, researchers at Oulu University have taken the multiple abilities of the mineral into consideration, thus arriving at a material that can generate electric current from different sources of energy.
Researchers believe they can further modify the KBNNO in order to better its piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties.
Yang Bai and colleagues are hoping to build a prototype of a multi-energy harvesting device with KBNNO at the core in the next year.
With a device that can power from any possible source of energy that otherwise goes wasted, we are surely looking at devices with improved batteries that would require minimal recharging.