This graphene battery can recharge itself to provide unlimited clean energy

Graphene 2018

The ideal crystalline structure of graphene is a hexagonal grid. (AlexanderAlUS, 2010)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rob Smith, Formative Content

Graphene is a modern marvel. It is comprised of a single, two-dimensional layer of carbon, yet is 200 times stronger than steel and more conductive than any other material, according to the University of Manchester, where it was first isolated in 2004.

Graphene also has multiple potential uses, including in biomedical applications such as targeted drug delivery, and for improving the lifespan of smartphone batteries.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Arkansas has found evidence to suggest graphene could also be used to provide an unlimited supply of clean energy.

The team says its research is based on graphene’s ability to “ripple” into the third dimension, similar to waves moving across the surface of the ocean. This motion, the researchers say, can be harvested into energy.

To study the movement of graphene, lead researcher Paul Thibado and his team laid sheets of the material across a copper grid that acted as a scaffold, which allowed the graphene to move freely.

Thibado says graphene could power biomedical devices such as pacemakers.
Image: Russell Cothren

The researchers used a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to observe the movements, finding that narrowing the focus to study individual ripples drew clearer results.

In analysing the data, Thibado observed both small, random fluctuations, known as Brownian motion, and larger, coordinated movements.

A scanning tunnelling microscope.
Image: University of Arkansas

As the atoms on a sheet of graphene vibrate in response to the ambient temperature, these movements invert their curvature, which creates energy, the researchers say.

Harvesting energy

“This is the key to using the motion of 2D materials as a source of harvestable energy,” Thibado says.

“Unlike atoms in a liquid, which move in random directions, atoms connected in a sheet of graphene move together. This means their energy can be collected using existing nanotechnology.”

The pieces of graphene in Thibado’s laboratory measure about 10 microns across (more than 20,000 could fit on the head of a pin). Each fluctuation exhibited by an individual ripple measures only 10 nanometres by 10 nanometres, and could produce 10 picowatts of power, the researchers say.

As a result, each micro-sized membrane has the potential to produce enough energy to power a wristwatch, and would never wear out or need charging.

Sheet of graphene as seen through Thibado’s STM
Image: University of Arkansas

Thibado has created a device, called the Vibration Energy Harvester, that he claims is capable of turning this harvested energy into electricity, as the below video illustrates.

This self-charging power source also has the potential to convert everyday objects into smart devices, as well as powering more sophisticated biomedical devices such as pacemakers, hearing aids and wearable sensors.

Thibado says: “Self-powering enables smart bio-implants, which would profoundly impact society.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

5G will change the world – but who will keep it safe?

Plans to keep EU budget funding in 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit

How a teen refugee survived a shipwreck and saved a baby’s life

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

Only international actions can settle the world’s ‘enormous and diverse cross-border challenges’, Qatar tells UN Assembly

The India–U.S. trade dispute and India’s evolving geopolitical role

EU Budget 2019 to focus on young people

Africa-Europe Alliance: two new financial guarantees under the EU External Investment Plan

Why improving women’s lives is the key to healthy ageing

Brunei’s new penal code would enshrine ‘cruel and inhuman punishments’ UN rights chief warns

From books to bikes: 4 unexpected gender gaps

Syria: Ease suffering, save lives, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator tells Security Council

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

EU Commission: Banking and energy conglomerates don’t threaten competition!

What does global health translate into?

How businesses can create an ethical culture in the age of tech

We need to talk about integration after migration. Here are four ways we can improve it

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile has power to tame transaction fees – PayPal CEO

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Transparency and tech together can safeguard taxpayers’ money

UN mosquito sterilization technology set for global testing, in battle against malaria, dengue

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

UN monitoring team in Yemen verifies pullout of armed forces from crucial port zones

Why securing the Internet of Things is crucial to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

International data flows: Commission launches the adoption of its adequacy decision on Japan

EU: Tax evasion and fraud flourish under political protection

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Lake Chad trees keep deadly drought at bay

Collective action now, the only way to meet global challenges, Guterres reaffirms in annual report

The importance and the need of mobile technology in the health care system and in saving lives.

Sweden well ahead in digital transformation yet has more to do

European Youth Forum welcomes steps towards raising awareness of youth rights by EU ministers

Commission’s action plan: financial world mandatory links to environmental targets

These countries spend the most on education

Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) of 22/05/2018: EU relations with key trading partners

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions stall growth in Latin America and Caribbean region, UN says

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

Why law enforcement and businesses need to join forces to fight global cybercrime

Mobile Technology Saving Lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

To recruit younger people, you have to understand them. Here’s a guide

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Instability in Africa’s Sahel, spreading outwards, Security Council told

How biotechnology is evolving in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The UK to split if May’s hard or no-deal Brexit is pursued

COVID-19 is threatening the lives of migrant children held in US custody

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

Greece to stay in the euro area but the cost to its people remains elusive

3 innovations which are leading the fight to save our ocean

What kind of action on social justice should we expect from companies in the future?

5 principles for effective cybersecurity leadership in a post-COVID world

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Could the EU’s ban on palm oil in biofuels do more harm than good?

Coronavirus is creating retirement insecurity. These 10 steps can diffuse the timebomb of an ageing population

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

Venezuela: Parliament recognises Guaidó, urges EU to follow suit

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s