Researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have discovered a mineral that has the properties required to extract energy from numerous sources at the same time. This material has a unique perovskite crystal structure, which gives it special abilities.
A perovskite, is a family of minerals, which are classified based on their capabilities to harness power. The one that can convert changes in pressure arising from motion is known as piezoelectric material, while those that are able to convert temperature produced by movement are called pyroelectric.
A perovskite can get energy from different sources, however not simultaneously (c) Wikipedia
KBNNO is a kind of ferroelectric materials. This material induces an electric current when it undergoes changes in temperature.
In the study published in the journal Applied Physics Letters
, KBNNO was able to generate electricity from pressure and heat, however, it isn’t as good as other perovskites. Despite that, the researchers found that they can modify the composition of KBNNO to improve its pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties.
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The results showed that this material could tune all these properties to a maximum point. The team is already preparing KBNNO with sodium to explore if this would result in such an improved material.
The experts are looking forward to extending the research. In fact, they hope to build a prototype multi-energy-harvesting device within the next year. When the time comes that power consuming sensors and devices become energy-sustainable, the development of both smart cities and the Internet of Things will push through. This material may even substitute batteries in devices, reducing how often they need to be recharged and improving energy efficiency.