Nanocellulose-based triboelectric nanogenerator for green and sustainable electricity generation
Triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) rises as a new pathway for efficiently harvesting mechanical energy on the basis of the triboelectrification and electrostatic effects. Highly purified cellulose nanofibril (CNF) comprises both amorphous and crystalline cellulosic domains and is usually characterized by nanoscale widths and microscale lengths. Due to the abundant hydroxyl groups on cellulose molecules, CNF can be functionalized via simple wet-chemistry reactions and its electric properties could then be drastically tuned by the new chemical functional groups. For example, nitro groups (-NO3) can largely raise the electron affinity of cellulose molecules; while methyl groups (-CH3) can improve the cellulose’s capability of donating electrons. The functionalized CNF can be assembled into large-sized thin films that are highly transparent, biodegradable, flexible, and possess desirable surface roughness and desirable dielectric properties. The CNF-based triboelectric nanogenerator was further integrated with wood fibers to create an energy harvesting fiberboard as a practical demonstration. Figure 1 shows the large-scale manufacturing process of such a board. This board was able to generate electricity as high as 10-30 Volts and 10-90 amperes, when a person of average weight repeatedly stepped on this TENG fiberboard. This amount of electric energy from one single step can light up 35 green light-emitting diodes connected in series, demonstrating the promise of powering commercial electronics from foot traffic.
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