Energy from your clothes, energy from your walls ...

GTC-SG-141020rAs I've noted here before, I am still "on the fence" about just passing along stuff to you that's been sitting in my browser's tabs, because if you're interested in this stuff, you're probably reading the same feeds as I see, so it has the potential of being "ho-hum, read that last month!" and you wouldn't like me any more. That would be sad.

However, I have had it pointed out to me that I'm a lot more obsessive about my information consumption than most folks, and so there's a decent chance that nobody reading this blog has stumbled over the stuff I've been snagging off the web, so I guess I'll start sharing this stuff with you until I hear screams for mercy.

To not just be parroting one piece, I've paired up a couple of stories that have a bit of a connection (like last time), these being about generating electricity in new, and variously novel ways.

The first piece is from Techworld.com, Energy harvested from body, environment could power wearables, IOT devices. This deals with approaches that are being researched that could obviate the need for batteries in "Internet Of Things" applications, utilizing "body heat and movement, and ambient energy from the environment". Now, this concept is hardly new, there have been "self-winding" watches for decades that use the body's movement to replace either the old-style winding stem or battery power ... but the concepts being investigated are interesting. Among these are thermoelectric cells, that could convert body heat into small electric charges, piezoelectric systems that could convert motion into energy (there was another story just out today about a generating system just one atom thick that produced energy via piezoelectric effects!), and even localized solar collection.

These won't likely power up your smartphone, but they look to have more than enough juice to keep the myriad of small sensors that the "IOT" promises to be delivering any day now. And, it's hardly a small market:

There will be 26 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner. Sensors will be used in wearables, industrial equipment, energy monitors, telematics systems, home appliances and other "intelligent" appliances, Gartner said. Another research firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is predicting IOT to become a multitrillion dollar industry by 2020

The other piece is from FastCompany's "Exist" feed ... Spray-On Solar May Be Cheaper And More Eco-Friendly Than The Panels On Your Roof ... which focuses on a new approach to harvesting solar power, using a material called Perovskite rather than the familiar silicon-based solar cells. It turns out that the manufacturing of the solar cells takes huge amounts of energy (ironically often provided by coal-fueled plants), and their installation is complicated and inelegant.

The Perovskite spray-on system, developed by the University of Sheffield in the UK, is efficient as it needs very little energy to produce, and requires far simpler "installation" (in that it gets sprayed on like paint). This isn't the first attempt at spray-on solar, but the Perovskite-based material is already 10x as productive as previous sprays, and is approaching, even early on, half the power conversion of silicon cells.

This is another potentially "wearable" energy producer, as the material can be sprayed onto fabrics, and, while it's not a long-time solution, it can be "repainted" as needed.

"First applications could be in more low-lifetime products in which long-term stability is not required, i.e. on clothing, or for various indoor applications to scavenge energy,"

Anyway, found these pieces interesting, and hope you will too!

If you want to give us some feedback on these or other posts, leave a comment below. Also, consider signing up for notifications when new posts appear ... we realize we've been "few and far between" on the posts of late, but if you get on the mailing list, Chicago Now will automatically kick out an email letting you know there are new blitherings to be had here.

Oh, and if you don't mind ... we'd be much obliged if you'd punch some of those share buttons down there as well ...



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