Renewable energy technologies generally consist of two distinct processes: energy generation (using sources such as coal, solar, wind, etc.) and energy storage (such as batteries). These two processes are always accomplished through two separate units, with the first process converting the original form of energy to electricity, and the second process converting electricity to chemical energy. Now for the first time, engineers have demonstrated that energy can be generated and stored in a single device that converts mechanical energy directly to chemical energy, bypassing the intermediate step of electricity generation. The device basically acts as a hybrid generator-battery unit, or in other words, a self-charging power cell.
“This is a project that introduces a new approach in battery technology that is fundamentally new in science,” Zhong Lin Wang told Phys.org. “This has a general and broad application because it is a unit that not only harvests energy but also stores it. It does not need a constant wall jet DC source to charge the battery. It is mostly to be used for driving small, portable electronics.”