Scientists from the University of Oulu in Finland have discovered a new material with the perovskite crystal structure that has the properties to extract energy from different types of sources simultaneously.
This new material is known as KBNNO – a name that is based on the material’s chemical formula. KBNNO can harness energy from heat, visible light, and changes in pressure.
Like other perovskite crystals, KBNNO is also ferroelectric, containing tiny electric dipoles, having positive charges on one end and negative charges on the other.
Changes in temperature result in a misalignment of the dipoles, creating a current. Similarly, mechanical stress also results in causing certain regions to attract or repel charges, again generating a current.
Earlier, researchers studied KBNNO’s photovoltaic and general ferroelectric properties, but they did the research at temperatures of hundreds of degrees below freezing. However, this new study was conducted at room temperature.
Although KBNNO is a great discovery, if we compare the amount of electricity generation, it isn’t quite as good as other perovskites. Researchers are now looking forward to improving its efficiency levels.
Yang Bai, who led the study, said, “It is possible that all these properties can be tuned to a maximum point.”
The team is hopeful to construct a prototype of this multi-energy harvesting device within a year. Bai noted that “This will push the development of the Internet of Things and smart cities, where power-consuming sensors and devices can be energy sustainable.”