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Georgia Tech Researchers Create Self-Charging Battery

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia have created a self-charging battery that could end drained battery woes in the future. Their study, whose complete name is “Hybridizing Energy Conversion and Storage in a Mechanical-to-Electrochemical Process for Self-Charging Power Cell” was published in the journal Nano Letters. It essentially looks into creating a singular unit that is able to generate and store energy at the same time.

The researchers, named Xinyu Xue, Sihong Wang, Zhong Lin Wang, Wenxi Guo and Yan Zhang envision their project to shed light on a new kind of battery technology that could be used to power small, mobile gadgets. They used a coin-type Li-ion battery and put polyvinylidene difluoride film in place of the polyethylene separator that usually acts as a barrier between two electrodes. When the polyvinylidene difluoride film receives some stress, it gets charged. In their study, the researchers demonstrated the self-charging battery by placing it on the sole of a shoe where it gets a kind of energy called compressive energy from the wearer’s every step.

This creation is innovative because commonly, technologies using renewable energy require the processes of generating and storing energy to be distinct from each other. However, the self-charging battery is able to combine these into one. Moreover, in a more practical sense, the self-charging battery does not require the battery to be plugged into a wall socket to get charged like what is normally done today. The Georgia Tech self-charging battery, however, is still far from production, so consumers will not likely be seeing products featuring this technology on the market anytime soon. Still, the technology carries a lot of potential. It is especially attractive because it uses renewable energy, thus allowing users to cut on costs for charging their mobile phones.

It may be recalled that Nokia also came up with self-charging batteries in 2010. Nokia’s approach used kinetic energy to power the device. However, phones with said type of battery have not yet been released by the company.

via engadget