American Chemical Society
am2c12777_si_003.mp4 (18.14 MB)

Harvesting Electricity from Atmospheric Moisture by Engineering an Organic Acid Gradient in Paper

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posted on 2022-11-28, 06:05 authored by Luyu Yang, Lei Zhang, Dongping Sun
Moisture-activated electric generators (MEGs) that harvest clean energy from atmospheric humidity offer exciting opportunities for upgraded energy conversions. However, it is challenging to obtain MEGs that are both easy to fabricate and of high output power, due to the requirement for particular functional materials and the cumbersome manufacturing process. Herein, a simple and general method is adopted to prepare MEGs with chemically gradient structures. As a specific example, a gradient distribution of citric acid was successfully constructed inside an A4 printer paper by asymmetric drying, which can generate a continuous voltage of tens of millivolts by ambient humidity, and even to volts (275 mV and 7.6 μA cm–2) under asymmetric humidity stimulation, and the maximum power density output was 2.1 μW cm–2. The driving force behind this energy conversion is a self-maintained ionic gradient created within the paper by the asymmetric ionization of gradient organic acids when exposed to gradient or nongradient humid air. This work broadens the class of materials and possibilities for the rapid development of MEGs, shedding new light on the revolution of generators that harvest green and sustainable energy for power generation.