American Chemical Society
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Droplet Energy Harvesting System Based on Total-Current Nanogenerator

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-16, 01:44 authored by Yuanhang Li, Gang Ma, Yang Li, Jie Fu, Meishan Wang, Kuiliang Gong, Weimin Li, Xiaobo Wang, Lili Zhu, Jun Dong
The droplet-based nanogenerator (DNG) is a highly promising technology for harvesting high-entropy water energy in the era of the Internet of Things. Yet, despite the exciting progress made in recent years, challenges have emerged unexpectedly for the AC-type DNG-based energy system as it transitions from laboratory demonstrations to real-world applications. In this work, we propose a high-performance DNG system based on the total-current nanogenerator concept to address these challenges. This system utilizes the water-charge-shuttle architecture for easy scale-up, employs the field effect to boost charge density of the triboelectric layer, adopts an on-solar-panel design to improve compatibility with solar energy, and is equipped with a novel DC–DC buck converter as power management circuit. These features allow the proposed system to overcome the existing bottlenecks of DNG and empower the system with superior performances compared with previous ones. Notably, with the core architecture measuring only 15 cm × 12.5 cm × 0.3 cm in physical dimensions, this system reaches a record-high open-circuit voltage of 4200 V, capable of illuminating 1440 LEDs, and can charge a 4.7 mF capacitor to 4.5 V in less than 24 min. In addition, the practical potential of the proposed DNG system is further demonstrated through a self-powered, smart greenhouse application scenario. These demonstrations include the continuous operation of a thermohygrometer, the operation of a Bluetooth plant monitor, and the all-weather energy harvesting capability. This work will provide valuable inspiration and guidance for the systematic design of next-generation DNG to unlock the sustainable potential of distributed water energy for real-world applications.