Future Perfect: Self-powered portable batteries
What’s happening right now ?
Conventional batteries need to be recharged at regular intervals from a power outlet. Also, they have a short life as they become useless after some time. All of this has prompted researchers in different parts of the world to develop new technologies that would increase the life of batteries and also offer the users an Eco-friendly way to keep all of their electronic gadgets running. And, along with the increasing number of gadgets, some researchers have also developed self-charging portable batteries to address all the cost and environmental concerns associated with conventional batteries.
1. Self-charging batteries powered by vibration
Developed by Brother Industries, this AA battery sized generator is powered by vibration. All you need to do is shake it up a bit to keep the battery running. It can also be used to recharge another AA battery. This technology produces energy for recharging batteries through the process of electromagnetic induction with the help of a double layer electric capacitor. It can be used in small devices like remote control and cameras.
2. Wearable, self-powered batteries
Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute are developing wearable batteries that can recharge themselves through human movements and other natural sources of energy. According to a paper published by the researchers in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the researchers have developed a dielectric elastometer generator (DEG). It can produce energy from muscle movements and used to develop soft and light wearable batteries. Also, these batteries would last longer than the conventional batteries.
3. RMIT self-powered rechargeable batteries
With the help of piezoelectric thin films, researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have designed this self-charging battery. It would produce energy by converting the mechanical stress into electricity. According to the researchers, it will have wider application in day to day life. It can be fitted into running shoes to produce energy which can be used to recharge gadgets like mobile phones, ipods. Even the mechanical stress produced while typing the keyboard of laptops could be used to recharge the laptops. Such batteries would not cost more than conventional batteries as piezoelectric films can be produced from cheaply available piezoelectric substances. However, there are still some technical glitches that need to be worked out.
The concept of self-powered portable batteries is a new innovation that has been making news in last few years. These batteries do not need any external power source for recharging. Instead, they use many unexplored sources like mechanical energy, kinetic energy, body heat,vibrations, muscle movements and piezoelectric materials. Researchers at many prestigious institutions of the world have developed prototypes of wearable self-charging batteries. Many of them have also been launched in the market. Not only this, scientists at the Australian national University (ANU) recently developed wearable solar power plant which stores the solar energy into batteries and can be used for for recharging gadgets like iphone, laptops, mobile phones, etc.
There are multiple advantages of self-powered portable batteries. Such as:
1. They would increase the mobility of people and the gadgets. As, they would not have to worry about recharging their gadgets.
2. Such batteries would cost relatively less as compared to the conventional batteries. As, they would require one time investment and wouldn’t require regular replacement, as is the case with present batteries.
3. There are also some environmental advantages. The self-charging batteries would reduce the total electricity consumption in a household. This will not only pay in terms of household budget but also help in reducing some carbon footprint from the environment.
4. With a longer life, the self-charging batteries would also reduce the amount of lead and other harmful materials that are disposed in soil after the conventional batteries become useless.
Electronic gadgets have become a defining feature of the modern life. And, their numbers continue to increase with every passing day. More gadgets mean more electricity consumption, more carbon emission and a restrained mobility as people become more dependent on gadgets than on the social support systems, as was the case in good old days. But gadgets cannot be avoided in present circumstances. The development of portable self-charging batteries would, however, give a lot of comfort. They would not only increase the mobility but also open up a whole new arena for a sustainable future.