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Chinese researchers develop ‘magic textile’ that generates electricity with rainwater

(People's Daily Online)    09:54, June 09, 2020

By combining triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) with textile used in agriculture, kinetic energy of raindrops can be converted into electric energy, suggested the latest findings of a research team of Zhejiang University in east China’s Zhejiang province, a WeChat account of Xinhua News Agency reported on June 6.

The production of TENG yarn and its application scenarios in agriculture.

Researchers of College of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science, Zhejiang University, tactfully integrated TENG into agrotextile, developing a TENG yarn that can produce electricity in rain.

After being connected to energy storage equipment, the transformed agrotextile can continuously transmit power to Internet of Things (IoT) sensing devices in the future, thus realizing wireless and battery-free monitoring of agricultural information and providing information about weather conditions in a real-time manner, said Ping Jianfeng, member of the Zhejiang University research team.

Application of the TENG yarn in agrotextile.

The final development of triboelectric yarn (diameter of ~400 μm) has been proven to possess extraordinary output performance, generating a voltage of 7.7 V with an effective contact length of 3 cm, according to the research results recently published in multidisciplinary journal Nano Energy.

Parameters like ambient temperature and relative humidity, illumination intensity, moisture, salinity and alkalinity, as well as physical indicators of crops, are all closely related to the growth of crops, and real-time monitoring of these variables in smart agricultural systems requires electric drive, explained Ping Jianfeng.

Schematic diagram of TENG yarn collecting raindrops.

More often than not, it’s difficult to lay conduits in the fields, and batteries usually have limited life and pose pollution risks, so the development of battery-free and wireless systems for agricultural information sensing is a major trend in smart agriculture, Ping noted.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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