A generator that can be strapped to the roof of a car and converts air flow to useable power is reported online in Nature Communications this week. The generator uses triboelectric energy and generates power from the fluttering motion of a flag-like structure.
Harvesting useable power from renewable energy sources is a key technological challenge of the modern age. Triboelectric generators are based on the principle of charge transfer when two materials are rubbed together - similar to when a balloon is rubbed against clothing and then sticks to a wall - and have proven to be a cost effective and efficient means of converting natural motion into power.
Jong-Jin Park and colleagues develop a triboelectric device that uses wind to drive the fluttering motion of a flexible textile material against a rigid plate, obtaining an output voltage suitable for powering electronic devices. The authors demonstrate the functionality of their device by mounting it on the roof of a moving car, demonstrating how such a device might be integrated into modern life.