Scientists have created a device that produces electricity from falling snow

Researchers have developed the first-in-kind device that creates electricity from falling snow. It is inexpensive, compact, thin and flexible as a sheet of plastic.

Scientists from the University of California call their invention a snowy triboelectric nanogenerator. The principle of its work is based on charge generation by static electricity.

Passing through the atmosphere, the snow is charged, and when contacting the oppositely charged device, consisting of silicone, carbon, hydrogen and other elements, transmits it electrons.

Although the snow rather easily gives the charge, but the performance depends on the effectiveness of the base material of the nanogenerator. As the basis, scientists tested aluminum foil, and Teflon, but Silicone was the best other affordable alternatives.

The device can operate in remote areas, because it does not need a battery. It is also an autonomous meteorological station and can determine the amount of snow dropped, its direction, as well as the strength and speed of the wind.

According to the inventors, about 30% of the surface of the Earth every winter is covered with snow. At this time, the solar panels often do not work or show much worse performance. The integration of the tribelectric nanogenerator with solar panel can increase efficiency and ensure the continuity of power supply.

The device can also be used in the wearable sensors of athletes, to determine the model of their movement. Since all components of the nanogenerator are widely used in production, it has a low cost and can be printed on a 3D printer.

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