The best way to put out forest fires is to kill the hidden dangers in the early stages. So a team of researchers at Michigan State University thought of equipping forests with sensors that detect factors such as carbon monoxide levels and high temperatures. It should be noted that although most sensors were previously based on solar panels, the school’s new scheme uses the energy generated by tree movements.
(From Michigan State University)
The problem with solar panels is that they need to be maintained regularly, otherwise they can be easily obscured by lush branches.
Michigan’s “multi-layer cylindrical friction nanogenerator” (MC-TENG) scheme, however, utilizes the electrical charge accumulated in the material (similar to the static charge produced by a comb after combing the comb) after object contact separation.
Its structure contains cylindrical sleeves that are nested into each other from two different materials and anchored to branches.
When a branch is blown back and forth by the wind, the two layers of material rub between to generate an electrical charge and store it in a miniature supercapacitor based on carbon nanotubes.
Multi-layer nesting is also possible if you want to increase the output power. Tests have shown that even shorter, but slightly more frequent, 3-minute gusts are sufficient to sustain carbon monoxide and temperature sensors for long periods of time.
Dr. Changyong Cao, who led the study, said they would follow up by developing a formal version that would be weatherproof. In addition to detecting fires, alerts can also be transmitted to nearby fire stations.
Details of the study have been published in the recently published journal Advanced Functional Materials.
Originally published as “Multilayered Cylindrical Triboelectric Nanogenerator to Harvest Kinetic Energy for Tree For Monitoring For The R. Environment And Forest Fire.”