Triboelectricity has been known for thousands of years as a nuisance or trick. It is the creation of electrostatic charges on the surfaces of two dissimilar materials when they touch. Then, in 2012 triboelectric energy harvesting was invented based on those charges generating a potential drop when the two surfaces are separated by a mechanical force. This can drive electrons to flow between the two electrodes built on the top and bottom surfaces of the two materials. Repeated reciprocating movement generates AC power convertible into useful power with power conditioning circuits. This is the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG).
Progress has been faster than with any other form of energy harvesting. Power density reached 500Wm-2. Instantaneous conversion efficiency reached 70%. Total energy conversion efficiency reached 85%. Potential applications include creating useful electrical power from human motion, walking, vibration, mechanical triggering, rotating tires, wind and flowing water. Self-powered sensors have been tested. Indeed, a plausible case has been made for TENG uses from microwatts to megawatts, a virtuosity rivalled only by electrodynamics, photovoltaics and potentially magnetostriction. Unfortunately nothing is on sale yet due to issues of reliability, life and unpredictability. This presentation looks at the research and potential and forecasts the market and positioning against competing technologies.
Dr Peter Harrop PhD, FIEE is Chairman of IDTechEx Ltd. He was previously Director of Technology of Plessey Capacitors Scotland and Chief Executive of Mars Electronics, a start-up he took to $260 million gross sales value with highly automated factories built in US and UK, without acquisitions. He was a board member of $1.5 bn Mars UK, a division of Mars Inc. Mars Electronics was sold for $500 million after he left, generating an excellent return.
He has been Chairman of 15 high tech companies over a period of years including turnrounds on behalf of venture capitalists such as Computer Security International. The largest was Pinacl plc in Wales, made profitable and grown to $100 million in fiber optic manufacture and multimillion dollar structural networks.
Peter lectures and consults internationally on electric vehicles, energy storage, energy harvesting and regeneration. He writes a minimum of five openly published techno-marketing reports yearly at IDTechEx. firstname.lastname@example.org
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