An underwater flag-like triboelectric nanogenerator for harvesting ocean current energy under extremely low velocity condition

Yan Wang, Xiangyu Liu, Tianyu Chen, Hao Wang, Chuanqing Zhu, Hongyong Yu, Liguo Song, Xinxiang Pan, Jianchun Mi, Chengkuo Lee, Minyi Xu; Nano Energy, Volume 90, Part A, 2021, 106503, ISSN 2211-2855.


Ocean current energy harvester is a promising infrastructure to achieve self-powered marine wireless sensing system. This study proposes and investigates an underwater flag-like Triboelectric Nanogenerator (UF-TENG) based on the flow-induced vibration. The UF-TENG consists of two conductive ink-coated polyethylene terephthalate membranes and one strip of poly tetra fluoroethylene membrane with their edges sealed up by a waterproof PTFE tape. In this way, the triboelectric layers are prevented from contacting water. It is verified that the vortex street induced by a cylinder enhances the vibration of the UF-TENG. The low velocity startup enables the UF-TENG to harvest extremely low-velocity ocean current energy, e.g., presently achieving 0.133 m/s as the critical startup velocity. The proposed UF-TENG has a simpler structure and better low velocity performance when comparing with electromagnetic generators and piezoelectric generators. Parametric studies are conducted to evaluate the influence of geometrical parameters of the UF-TENG on the vibration behavior and output performance. It is demonstrated that the underwater electrical appliance can be powered by parallel UF-TENG units. The present UF-TENG is a more cost-effective and more accessible hydroelectric technology to utilize the renewable ocean current for powering sensors or micro electric appliances in Internet of Things.