Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat (Nature Materials)

Abstract:
Researchers at the University of Maryland have created a heat-to-electricity device that runs on ions that could someday harness the body’s heat to provide energy.

Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat (Nature Materials)

College Park, MD | Posted on March 25th, 2019

Liangbing Hu and Robert Briber of the department of materials science, and Siddhartha Das of mechanical engineering, transformed a piece of wood into a flexible membrane that generates energy from the same type of electric current (ions) that the human body runs on. This energy is generated using charged channel walls and other unique properties of the wood’s natural nanostructures. With this new wood-based technology, they can use a small temperature differential to efficiently generate ionic voltage, as demonstrated in a paperpublished March 25 in the journal Nature Materials.

If you’ve ever been outside during a lightning storm, you’ve seen that generating charge between two very different temperatures is easy. But for small temperature differences, it is more difficult. Hu, Briber and Das tackled this challenge. Hu said they now have “demonstrated their proof-of-concept device to harvest low-grade heat using nanoionic behavior of processed wood nanostructures”.

Trees grow channels that move water between the roots and the leaves. These are made up of fractally-smaller channels, and at the level of a single cell, channels just nanometers or less across. The team has harnessed these channels to regulate ions.

The researchers used basswood, which is a fast-growing tree with low environmental impact. They treated the wood and removed two components – lignin, that makes the wood brown and adds strength, and hemicellulose, which winds around the layers of cells binding them together. This gives the remaining cellulose its signature flexibility. This process also converts the structure of the cellulose from type I to type II which is a key to enhancing ion conductivity.

A membrane, made of a thin slice of wood, was bordered by platinum electrodes, with sodium-based electrolyte infiltrated into the cellulose. The regulate the ion flow inside the tiny channels and generate electrical signal. “The charged channel walls can establish an electrical field that appears on the nanofibers and thus help effectively regulate ion movement under a thermal gradient,” said Tian Li, the first author of the paper.

Li said that the sodium ions in the electrolyte insert into the aligned channels, which is made possible by the crystal structure conversion of cellulose and by dissociation of the surface functional groups.

“We are the first to show that, this type of membrane, with its expansive arrays of aligned cellulose, can be used as a high-performance ion selective membrane by nanofluidics and molecular streaming and greatly extends the applications of sustainable cellulose into nanoionics,” Li summed up the paper.

This latest work builds on, and adds to, extensive previous UMD research to develop novel and potentially high impact applications of modified wood.

Current affiliations for the researchers are:

University of Maryland College Park – Tian Li, Xin Zhang, Steven D. Lacey, Ruiyu Mi, Feng Jiang, Jianwei Song, Jiaqi Dai, Yonggang Yao, Robert M. Briber & Liangbing Hu of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Guang Chen & Siddhartha Das, Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Colorado – Xinpeng Zhao & Ronggui Yang, Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of British Columbia – Feng Jiang & Zhongqi Liu, Department of Wood Science.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Martha J. R. Heil
Science Communicator, Maryland NanoCenter


301-405-0876 (office)
626-354-5613 (cell)
office: 1118 Kim Engineering Building
mail: Mailroom, A.V. Williams Building, 8223 Paint Branch Dr.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Copyright © University of Maryland

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

"Cellulose ionic conductors with high differential thermal voltage for low-grade heat harvesting," Nature Materials (2019):

UMD Researchers Create Super Wood Stronger Than Most Metals (Feb. 2018):

Wood Windows are Cooler than Glass (June 2013):

A Battery Made of Wood? (August 2016)

Related News Press

News and information

Princeton-led team discovers unexpected quantum behavior in kagome lattice:Experiments suggest evidence for novel patterns of electronic charge distribution in a kagome material whose handedness can be manipulated with a magnetic field June 18th, 2021

Atomic-scale tailoring of graphene approaches macroscopic world June 18th, 2021

Compact quantum computer for server centers: Researchers build smallest quantum computer yet based on industry standards June 18th, 2021

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Possible Futures

AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately: Pioneering technology developed by UCL (University College London) and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) researchers could transform the ability to accurately interpret HIV test results, particularly in low- and middle-income June 18th, 2021

Atomic-scale tailoring of graphene approaches macroscopic world June 18th, 2021

Compact quantum computer for server centers: Researchers build smallest quantum computer yet based on industry standards June 18th, 2021

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Discoveries

AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately: Pioneering technology developed by UCL (University College London) and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) researchers could transform the ability to accurately interpret HIV test results, particularly in low- and middle-income June 18th, 2021

Atomic-scale tailoring of graphene approaches macroscopic world June 18th, 2021

Compact quantum computer for server centers: Researchers build smallest quantum computer yet based on industry standards June 18th, 2021

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Announcements

Proliferation of electric vehicles based on high-performance, low-cost sodium-ion battery:A large-capacity anode material is developed for sodium-ion batteries by using low-cost silicone-based oil. This process, if commercialized, is expected to significantly reduce manufacturing June 18th, 2021

AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately: Pioneering technology developed by UCL (University College London) and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) researchers could transform the ability to accurately interpret HIV test results, particularly in low- and middle-income June 18th, 2021

Compact quantum computer for server centers: Researchers build smallest quantum computer yet based on industry standards June 18th, 2021

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Princeton-led team discovers unexpected quantum behavior in kagome lattice:Experiments suggest evidence for novel patterns of electronic charge distribution in a kagome material whose handedness can be manipulated with a magnetic field June 18th, 2021

AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately: Pioneering technology developed by UCL (University College London) and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) researchers could transform the ability to accurately interpret HIV test results, particularly in low- and middle-income June 18th, 2021

Compact quantum computer for server centers: Researchers build smallest quantum computer yet based on industry standards June 18th, 2021

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Energy

Changing a 2D material's symmetry can unlock its promise: Jian Shi Research Group engineers material into promising optoelectronic June 18th, 2021

Active platinum species: Catalytic high-temperature oxidations: Individual atom or metal cluster? June 16th, 2021

Molecular coating enhances organic solar cells June 11th, 2021

New form of silicon could enable next-gen electronic and energy devices: Novel crystalline form of silicon could potentially be used to create next-generation electronic and energy devices June 4th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project