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.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $4.92 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Wang, Z. L. & Song, J. Piezoelectric nanogenerators based on zinc oxide nanowire arrays. Science 312, 242–246 (2006).
Qin, Y., Wang, X. & Wang, Z. L. Microfibre–nanowire hybrid structure for energy scavenging. Nature 451, 809–813 (2008).
Tian, B. et al. Coaxial silicon nanowires as solar cells and nanoelectronic power sources. Nature 449, 885–889 (2007).
Zhu, G., Chen, J., Zhang, T., Jing, Q. & Wang, Z. L. Radial-arrayed rotary electrification for high performance triboelectric generator. Nat. Commun. 5, 3426 (2014).
Grazel, M. Photoelectrochemical cells. Nature 414, 338–344 (2001).
Yang, R., Qin, Y., Dai, L. & Wang, Z. L. Power generation with laterally packaged piezoelectric fine wires. Nat. Nanotech. 4, 34–39 (2009).
Wang, X., Song, J., Liu, J. & Wang, Z. L. Direct-current nanogenerator driven by ultrasonic waves. Science 316, 102–105 (2007).
Zhong, J. et al. Fiber-based generator for wearable electronics and mobile medication. ACS Nano 8, 6273–6280 (2014).
Chen, J. et al. Harmonic-resonator-based triboelectric nanogenerator as a sustainable power source and a self-powered active vibration sensor. Adv. Mater. 25, 6094–6099 (2013).
Son, D. et al. Multifunctional wearable devices for diagnosis and therapy of movement disorders. Nat. Nanotech. 9, 397–404 (2014).
Xu, S. et al. Soft microfluidic assemblies of sensors, circuits, and radios for the skin. Science 344, 70–74 (2014).
Park, S. I. et al. Soft, stretchable, fully implantable miniaturized optoelectronic systems for wireless optogenetics. Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 1280–1286 (2015).
Weng, W., Chen, P., He, S., Sun, X. & Peng, H. Smart electronic textiles. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 6140–6169 (2016).
Xu, S. et al. Stretchable batteries with self-similar serpentine interconnects and integrated wireless recharging systems. Nat. Commun. 4, 1543 (2013).
Zhang, Z. et al. Weaving efficient polymer solar cell wires into flexible power textiles. Adv. Energy Mater. 4, 1301750 (2014).
Kim, K. N. et al. Highly stretchable 2D fabrics for wearable triboelectric nanogenerator under harsh environments. ACS Nano 9, 6394–6400 (2015).
Lee, M. R. et al. Solar power wires based on organic photovoltaic materials. Science 324, 232–235 (2009).
Huynh, W. U., Dittmer, J. J. & Alivisatos, A. P. Hybrid nanorod-polymer solar cells. Science 295, 2425–2427 (2002).
Xu, C., Wang, X. & Wang, Z. L. Nanowire structured hybrid cell for concurrently scavenging solar and mechanical energies. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 5866–5872 (2009).
Wang, Z. L., Chen, J. & Lin, L. Progress in triboelectric nanogenerators as a new energy technology and self-powered sensors. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 2250–2282 (2015).
Fan, Z. & Javey, A. Photovoltaics: solar cells on curtains. Nat. Mater. 7, 835–836 (2008).
Yoon, J. et al. Ultrathin silicon solar microcells for semitransparent, mechanically flexible and microconcentrator module designs. Nat. Mater. 7, 907–915 (2008).
Zheng, L. et al. A hybridized power panel to simultaneously generate electricity from sunlight, raindrops, and wind around the clock. Adv. Energy Mater. 5, 1501152 (2015).
Yang, Y. et al. Hybrid energy cell for degradation of methyl orange by self-powered electrocatalytic oxidation. Nano Lett. 13, 803–808 (2013).
Zeng, W. et al. Fiber-based wearable electronics: a review of materials, fabrication, devices, and applications. Adv. Mater. 26, 5310–5336 (2014).
Service, R. F. Technology-electronic textiles charge ahead. Science 301, 909–911 (2003).
Stuart, M. A. C. et al. Emerging applications of stimuli-responsive polymer materials. Nat. Mater. 9, 101–113 (2010).
Cherenack, K. et al. Smart textiles: challenges and opportunities. J. Appl. Phys. 112, 091301 (2012).
Hamedi, M., Forchheimer, R. & Inganäs, O. Towards woven logic from organic electronic fibres. Nat. Mater. 6, 357–362 (2007).
Avila, A. G. & Hinestroza, J. P. Smart textiles: tough cotton. Nat. Nanotech. 3, 458–459 (2008).
Rossi, D. D. et al. Electronic textiles: a logical step. Nat. Mater. 6, 328–329 (2007).
Hu, L. & Cui, Y. Energy and environmental nanotechnology in conductive paper and textiles. Energy Environ. Sci. 5, 6423–6435 (2012).
Zhang, N. et al. A wearable all-solid photovoltaic textile. Adv. Mater. 28, 263–269 (2016).
Fan, X. et al. Ultrathin, rollable, paper-based triboelectric nanogenerator for acoustic energy harvesting and self-powered sound recording. ACS Nano 9, 4236–4243 (2015).
Zi, Y. et al. Triboelectric–pyroelectric–piezoelectric hybrid cell for high-efficiency energy-harvesting and self-powered sensing. Adv. Mater. 27, 2340–2347 (2015).
Zhou, Y. et al. In situ quantitative study of nanoscale triboelectrification and patterning. Nano Lett. 13, 2771–2776 (2013).
Zhou, Y. et al. Manipulating nanoscale contact electrification by an applied electric field. Nano Lett. 14, 1567–1572 (2014).
Baytekin, H. T. et al. The mosaic of surface charge in contact electrification. Science 333, 308–312 (2011).
Grzybowski, B. A., Winkleman, A., Wiles, J. A., Brumer, Y. & Whitesides, G. M. Electrostatic self-assembly of macroscopic crystals using contact electrification. Nat. Mater. 2, 241–245 (2003).
Niu, S. et al. Theory of sliding-mode triboelectric nanogenerators. Adv. Mater. 25, 6184–6193 (2013).
Niu, S. & Wang, Z. L. Theoretical systems of triboelectric nanogenerators. Nano Energy 14, 161–192 (2015).
Yang, W. et al. Harvesting energy from the natural vibration of human walking. ACS Nano 7, 11317–11324 (2013).
Zi, Y. et al. Effective energy storage from a triboelectric nanogenerator. Nat. Commun. 7, 10987 (2016).
Zhang, C., Tang, W., Han, C., Fan, F. & Wang, Z. L. Theoretical comparison, equivalent transformation, and conjunction operations of electromagnetic induction generator and triboelectric nanogenerator for harvesting mechanical energy. Adv. Mater. 26, 3580–3591 (2014).
Niu, S., Wang, X., Yi, F., Zhou, Y. S. & Wang, Z. L. A universal self-charging system driven by random biomechanical energy for sustainable operation of mobile electronics. Nat. Commun. 6, 8975 (2015).
Pence, S., Novotny, V. J. & Diaz, A. F. Effect of surface moisture on contact charge of polymers containing ions. Langmuir 10, 592–596 (1994).
Nguyen, V. & Yang, R. Effect of humidity and pressure on the triboelectric nanogenerator. Nano Energy 2, 604–608 (2013).
Feng, H. et al. From wires to veins: wet-process fabrication of light-weight reticulation photoanodes for dye-sensitized solar cells. Chem. Commun. 50, 3509–3511 (2014).
Fu, Y. et al. Integrated power fiber for energy conversion and storage. Energy Environ. Sci. 6, 805–812 (2013).
Fu, Y. et al. Conjunction of fiber solar cells with groovy micro-reflectors as highly efficient energy harvesters. Energy Environ. Sci. 4, 3379–3383 (2011).
Fan, X. et al. Wire-shaped flexible dye-sensitized solar cells. Adv. Mater. 20, 592–595 (2008).
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).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Supplementary Figures 1–22, Supplementary Notes 1–3, Supplementary Tables 1–3 and Supplementary References. (PDF 2169 kb)
Fabricating the power textile on a weaving machine. (AVI 2139 kb)
Hybrid power textile is sensitive to mechanical excitation. (AVI 3616 kb)
Charging a 2 mF commercial capacitor in the light with mechanical excitation. (AVI 6375 kb)
Charging a cell phone in the light with mechanical excitation. (AVI 6209 kb)
Driving an electronic watch in sunlight with hand shaking. (AVI 1805 kb)
Splitting the lake water under natural sunlight and wind. (AVI 5436 kb)
Power generation on a moving car from weak sunlight and wind. (AVI 5089 kb)
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, J., Huang, Y., Zhang, N. et al. Micro-cable structured textile for simultaneously harvesting solar and mechanical energy. Nat Energy 1, 16138 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nenergy.2016.138
A peanut shell-derived economical and eco-friendly biochar catalyst for electrochemical ammonia synthesis under ambient conditions: combined experimental and theoretical study
Catalysis Science & Technology (2021)
Chemical Engineering Journal (2021)
Biosensors and Bioelectronics (2021)
A comprehensive review of powering methods used in state-of-the-art miniaturized implantable electronic devices
Biosensors and Bioelectronics (2021)