Main content area

An electrostatic discharge based needle-to-needle booster for dramatic performance enhancement of triboelectric nanogenerators

Zhai, Cong, Chou, Xiujian, He, Jian, Song, Linlin, Zhang, Zengxing, Wen, Tao, Tian, Zhumei, Chen, Xi, Zhang, Wendong, Niu, Zhichuan, Xue, Chenyang
Applied energy 2018 v.231 pp. 1346-1353
electric field, electric generators, electric potential, electric power, electricity generation, electrons, lightning
There is plenty of exploitable energy in the ambient environments. Triboelectric nanogenerator is an innovative electricity generation technology to convert the wasted mechanical energy into electrical energy. However, the output of conventional triboelectric nanogenerators cannot be employed efficiently because their tremendous internal resistance limits the current of electrons. Inspired by the principle of lightning rods, for the first time we propose the utilization of electrostatic discharge to improve the performance of triboelectric nanogenerators, which is realized by an opposite needles structure enclosed in an inert atmosphere. When this structure is connected in series with a vertical contact-separation triboelectric nanogenerator, the strong electric field near tips of two needles ionizes the gas around them, forming a conductive plasma channel between the tips, and releasing a mass of free charges. As a result, some exciting performances are obtained in triboelectric nanogenerator. The output peak-to-peak voltage is increased from 300 V to 1300 V, and the equivalent impedance of energy harvesting circuit is reduced from 100 MΩ to 10 kΩ. Especially in the optimal conditions, the maximum continuous power can even be significantly improved by 330.76%. Therefore, this work provides a new strategy for the energy conversion technology, which is significant for the advancement and application of triboelectric nanogenerators.