Piezoelectricity Emerging as Panacea to Power Crisis

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Drive faster… faster… even faster…

Sounds like a dream inspiration that you wish turns into reality? Well, it could soon come to that if the world goes the South Korean industrial designer Jung-Hoon Kim’s way and adopts the design of his eco-friendly electricity generating car, P-Eco. Conjured to run only on piezoelectricity, where a wire system inside the car vibrates from the word “go” and generates power, the faster you drive the more your vehicle’s batteries are charged fuelling not just your car, but gadgets at home as well!

At a time when the world is consciously and actively looking for environment-friendly and cheaper energy alternatives, piezoelectricity is rearing its head loud and clear nearly two centuries after it was discovered. Piezoelectricity, or electricity generated due to pressure applied and its
resultant temperature change, was first successfully demonstrated in 1880 by sci-brothers Pierre Curie and Jacques Curie. The technology was applied successfully commercially for the first time during World War I when France developed an ultrasonic submarine detector under the aegis of scientist Paul Langevin. From then on, concepts to generate piezoelectricity have been applied in several devices over the years, from the simple cigarette lighter to complex piezoelectric transformers.

However, with conventional energy resources fast depleting and fuel prices sky rocketing, inventors from around the world are increasingly looking towards using piezoelectricity concepts to run a variety of machines in an eco-friendly manner. While researchers at the University of Bolton are looking to develop jogging apparel that can help the user charge his mobile phone and a couple of LED lamps at home after a healthy work out, industrial designer Benjamin Wright is exploring the grassroots to convert the threshing and pounding work of harvest by farmers into piezoelectricity. Soon enough, we may find touch screen users powering their smartphones’ and tabs’ batteries by simply touching the screen more, vastly reducing the need for external electricity sources.

The patent landscape in piezoelectricity is still nascent compared to other industries, but is bound to take the lead in a very short span of time. With researchers actively exploring piezoelectric materials to ensure complete self-sustenance of machinery and non-reliance on external sources of power, nanoscale devices are all set to gain that fillip and emerge as leaders in the power sector fairly soon.

(Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Piezoelectric_direct_discharge_plasma_ignited_into_a_glas_tube.jpg)


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