Article

Micro-cable structured textile for simultaneously harvesting solar and mechanical energy

  • Nature Energy 1, Article number: 16138 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/nenergy.2016.138
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Abstract

Developing lightweight, flexible, foldable and sustainable power sources with simple transport and storage remains a challenge and an urgent need for the advancement of next-generation wearable electronics. Here, we report a micro-cable power textile for simultaneously harvesting energy from ambient sunshine and mechanical movement. Solar cells fabricated from lightweight polymer fibres into micro cables are then woven via a shuttle-flying process with fibre-based triboelectric nanogenerators to create a smart fabric. A single layer of such fabric is 320 μm thick and can be integrated into various cloths, curtains, tents and so on. This hybrid power textile, fabricated with a size of 4 cm by 5 cm, was demonstrated to charge a 2 mF commercial capacitor up to 2 V in 1 min under ambient sunlight in the presence of mechanical excitation, such as human motion and wind blowing. The textile could continuously power an electronic watch, directly charge a cell phone and drive water splitting reactions.

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Acknowledgements

Research was supported by the Hightower Chair foundation, KAUST, the ‘Thousands Talents’ Program for pioneer researcher and his innovation team, China, National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51432005, 5151101243, 51561145021) and the National Key R&D Project from the Minister of Science and Technology (2016YFA0202704). X.F. and Y.H. also would like to acknowledge the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University of China (NCET-13-0631) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (106112016CDJZR225514).

Author information

Author notes

    • Jun Chen
    •  & Yi Huang

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA

    • Jun Chen
    • , Haiyang Zou
    • , Ruiyuan Liu
    •  & Zhong Lin Wang
  2. College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China

    • Yi Huang
    • , Nannan Zhang
    • , Changyuan Tao
    •  & Xing Fan
  3. Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100083, China

    • Zhong Lin Wang

Authors

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Contributions

J.C., X.F. and Z.L.W. conceived the idea, designed the experiment and guided the project. Y.H., J.C., X.F., N.Z., R.L., H.Z. and C.T. fabricated the device and performed electrical measurements. J.C., X.F. and Z.L.W. analysed the experimental data, drew the figures and prepared the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Xing Fan or Zhong Lin Wang.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–22, Supplementary Notes 1–3, Supplementary Tables 1–3 and Supplementary References.

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Video 1

    Fabricating the power textile on a weaving machine.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Video 2

    Hybrid power textile is sensitive to mechanical excitation.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Video 3

    Charging a 2 mF commercial capacitor in the light with mechanical excitation.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Video 4

    Charging a cell phone in the light with mechanical excitation.

  5. 5.

    Supplementary Video 5

    Driving an electronic watch in sunlight with hand shaking.

  6. 6.

    Supplementary Video 6

    Splitting the lake water under natural sunlight and wind.

  7. 7.

    Supplementary Video 7

    Power generation on a moving car from weak sunlight and wind.