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US and Chinese researchers create first self-charging power cell for energy storage

Georgia Institute of Technology and Chinese Academy of Sciences develop cell tech to simultaneously generate and store energy

Conventional batteries could be replaced by a self-charging power cell with an electricity generator

US and Chinese researchers have invented the first self-charging power cell to generate and store energy at the same time. Scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have created a novel device that both harvests and stores energy.

The self-charging power cell (SCPC) combines energy conversion and energy storage into one mechanism. The cell is capable of turning mechanical energy into electricity and simultaneously storing electric energy as chemical energy.

Professor Zhong Lin Wang, the group leader of the research, said: “Electricity generation and energy storage are two distinct processes that are accomplished through two different and separated physical units.

“We introduce a fundamental mechanism that directly hybridises the two processes into one, through which the mechanical energy is directly converted and simultaneously stored as chemical energy,” he said.

The design based on conventional Li-ion battery replaces the polyethylene separator with a piezoelectric polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) film.

The PVDF film acts as a charge pump when it is under mechanical pressure, which effectively charges the battery without any other external power source.

According to the researchers, a self-charging power cell with an electricity generator could replace a traditional battery. The invention could further transform the electronics industry.

“Our invention of self-charging power cell presents a revolutionary development for building self-charging battery, which will create a new wave of research in energy science. The outcome will have outstanding applications in mobile and personal electronics,” Wang said.