One of the most important problems of the world is energy. We need to find enough energy to run our clean, environmentally friendly, technological devices. For this purpose, we have produced technologies in which we use tides, winds and solar energy in the seas. In addition, snowfall can now be used to generate electricity.
The basis of the project is a phenomenon called the triboelectric effect. According to this phenomenon, electric charge occurs when two materials come into contact. Researchers discovered that snowflakes carry a positive electrical charge.
Snowflakes being + charged means they donate electrons. This means that snowflakes can interact with negatively charged substances.
Chemist Maher El-Kady, who worked as a researcher at UCLA, said, “Snow is already charged, so we thought why not put a counter-charged material in front of it and collect the electricity in between?”
Although snow was used for the first time for this type of study, similar studies had been done with different materials before. The triboelectric nanogenerator that the team built was a first in its field. These systems, called Teng, can be applied to many places.
Although the energy obtained is not very much, the researchers will enable this technology to be combined with solar panels in the future, thus enabling the panels to obtain energy for longer periods of time and in different conditions. Considering that 46 million square kilometers of snow falls on the Earth’s surface each year, this is not surprising.
The research results were published in the journal Nano Energy.