Power Felt can use body heat to generate electricity

first_imgHuman beings produce a lot of energy that mostly goes to waste. New technology to generate electrical energy from our movement (piezoelectric) is in development, but so far we haven’t managed to effectively harness the heat our bodies generate as a power source. Power Felt aims to change that. It has been developed by PhD student Corey Hewitt at the Center of Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Wake Forest University, and could provide a simple way to generate thermoelectric energy from our bodies. The new material is comprised of nanotubes in plastic fibers and relies of temperature difference to generate energy. As it’s a flexible material, it means there’s potential to create clothing from it and use our body heat as a generator. But the uses are much wider, with the felt usable wherever a difference in temperatue exists. We could therefore one day see it wrapped around pipes that get hot, forming part of your car’s bodywork and seat covers, or sitting as a layer underneath roof tiles.Power Felt comes with a number of advantages over previous methods of collecting energy using thermoelectrics. For one, it does not requires expensive compounds such as bismuth telluride used in other thermoelectric devices. The felt can also be improved over time by cramming more nanotubes within the fibers, so over the long term its energy generation will continue to increase as manufacturing methods improve. Also, because it’s a felt sheet, it should be easy to mass produce, meaning the cost of production will fall significantly if it becomes popular. If Power Felt gets picked up by clothing companies, and we all start wearing shoes with piezoelectric tech inside too, we may finally be able to leave our chargers at home. It’s also not a bad way to encourage us all to start walking (or running) more. Read more at Wake Forest University, via Gizmaglast_img read more