Electricity Production Using Falling Snow (Download PDF)

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Device has been designed as only a first of its kind 3D Printed Device that can produce electricity from falling snow by the researchers at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) .

The device is called snow based triboelectric Nano-generator or snow TENG. It generates charge through static electricity. The overall production of energy involves exchange of electrons.

Image of snow based triboelectric Nano-generator

Image of Snow Based Triboelectric Nano-generator

Image of snow based triboelectric Nano-generator

About Snow-based Triboelectric Nano Generator

  • It is small, thin and flexible just like any other sheet of plastic.

  • This device involves a Static electricity occurring from the interaction of one material that captures electrons and another that gives up electrons.

  • When falling snow contacts the surface of silicone, it produces a charge that the device captures; creating electricity. It should be noted that silicon is a synthetic rubber like material that is composed of silicon atoms and oxygen atoms which are negatively charged. Difference in nature of the charges involved was the key idea.

Materials Used Before Silicon

  • Aluminum foils and Teflon were used by the researchers earlier but silicon was found to produce more charge.

  • The accumulation of snow reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar array, limiting the panels’ power output and rendering them less effective.

Applications

  • The device can be used for monitoring winter sports such as skiing thereby improving an athlete’s performance when running, walking or jumping.

  • The device can also send signals, indicating whether a person is moving. It can tell when a person is walking, running, jumping or marching.

  • The device is like a weather station that can tell you how much snow is falling, the direction the snow is falling, and the direction and speed of the wind.

  • This new device could be integrated into solar panels to provide a continuous power supply when it snows.

  • Team used 3D printing to design device, which has a layer of silicone and an electrode to capture the charge.

  • Device could be produced at the low cost given the ease of fabrication and the availability of silicone

- Published/Last Modified on: June 27, 2019

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