Since the whole world is looking for alternatives to traditional power sources, now MIT researchers can create energy from body movement.
- Motion energy was harvested through mechanical piezoelectric devices
- The MIT team created a motion-powered lithium-ion battery in which ions move from one electrode to the other
- We could soon charge our phones by taking a walk
Renewable energy seems to be the future as we’re trying to save our planet from the traditional and somewhat toxic resources which are highly polluting. Most of us turn towards solar or wind power.
But solar panels are quite expensive and although the investment will pay off, many of us are still not ready to commit. So what if we could use an energy generated by something we already possess? Like our body.
Although many have been working on this trying to create some sort of energy “harvesters” to help us transform the energy we produce by walking to power a device, the results haven’t been quite successful. However, a team of researchers from MIT are getting very close to succeeding in this endeavor.
So far, companies have been trying to generate energy from body movement using mechanical piezoelectric devices. These devices are made of ceramics and generate electricity by applying pressure. However, the material doesn’t really conduct electricity so instead this becomes heat. The MIT team figured that those devices don’t work so they are using electrochemical technology, similar to how batteries work, so a sort of motion-powered batteries.
How does the motion battery work? It generated current by bending. When it bends the lithium ions move back and forth between two electrodes. Compared to traditional batteries in which the lithium ions move using electricity, in the new motion batteries, pressing one electrode will move the ions.
Although this new type of battery has proved to be efficient, so far the team only managed to use it at 15%. Nevertheless, they are optimistic and believe that they could soon reach an effectiveness of 100%.
Despite being simply a laboratory experiment, the team has high hopes with the new motion-powered battery. The next step would be to develop an appropriate device shaped for actual real-life applications.
As we now have the proof that motion power is indeed possible, we can hope that in the future we will be able to charge our phone while we’re walking or running, as our movements will create enough power for such necessities.