Artificial electric eel generates energy even underwater

The bionic nanogenerator is extremely simple, but works in any environmental condition. [Image: TAN Puchuan]

Bionic nanogenerator:

Chinese researchers have developed a bionic nanogenerator inspired by electric eels.

Yang Zou and his colleagues say their new technology meets the rigid demands of portable and dressing equipment in terms of stretchability, deformability, biocompatibility and impermeability.

They point out as key applications the creation of a power source for electronic devices that need to operate in the air, earth or water, and in human monitoring, due to their excellent flexibility and mechanical responsiveness.

The nanogenerator mimics the structure of the ionic channels in the citomembrane of the electric eel electrocytes.

The mechanically sensitive bionic channel was created based on the incompatibility of voltage between the polymers PDMS ( polydimethylsiloxane ) and silicone.

The demonstration involved monitoring a swimmer's movements in real time. [Image: TAN Puchuan]

Artificial eel

Like the ion channel of the eels, the nanogenerator can generate an open circuit voltage of up to 10 V underwater and up to 170 V under dry conditions.

This capability was maintained after 50,000 uniaxial tensile tests with a 50% traction rate.

To prove the practicality of the technology, the researchers built an underwater wireless motion monitoring system. Through this system, signals from different swimming movements can be transmitted, displayed and recorded synchronously.


 The bionic stretchable nanogenerator for underwater sensing and energy harvesting
Yang Zou, Puchuan Tan, Bojing Shi, Han Ouyang, Dongjie Jiang, Zhuo Liu, Hu Li, Min Yu, Chan Wang Xuecheng Qu, Luming Zhao Yubo Fan, Zhong Lin Wang, Zhou Li
 Nature Communications Vol .: 10,
Article number: 2695 
DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-019-10433-4

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