This electricity is always with you
We hope you’ve never found yourself in extreme situations with a dead phone? For example, when you disembark on a secluded beach, the day is approaching sunset and you need to inform that the boat will return for you, and there is no more communication … Or a more familiar situation: you spend all day in business, you need to call, but the battery is here- is it going to be discharged? Everyone, at least once, but found himself in a similar situation. How much easier would it be to live if it were possible to convert the heat of your body into electricity?
Recently, solar panels on board a yacht were something of a fantasy, and now every second project already has such panels in one form or another – on the roof of the flybridge, integrated into the hull or superstructure. Another promising idea can be seen in science fiction films about the future: when the human body is used as a biological accumulator. In fact, this energy is hardly enough for powerful devices, but for some everyday gadgets, such as a mobile phone, fitness tracker or headphones, it is quite enough.
The thermoelectric generator (TEG), which was developed at the University of Colorado Boulder, can charge portable electronic devices using the heat of the human body. According to the developers, the new device generates 1 W of energy per centimeter of skin. Simply put, this is enough to recharge, for example, a fitness bracelet. If it is necessary to increase the power of the device, then generator “blocks” are added to it. That is why the development was named Lego: small parts, like a construction set, are assembled into one device.
In addition, the generator is easy to stretch: it can be worn as a ring, bracelet or other accessory that comes into contact with human skin. It is also interesting that the new device behaves like biological tissue: if you accidentally break it, then press the damaged edges together for a few seconds and the device functions again.
Imagine that your T-shirt or even your swimsuit could charge your phone while you are active. Do you think this is fantastic? No, researchers from the Italian and Malaga Universities have developed a fabric that collects the energy of human movements. This mini-generator is capable of generating electricity from the temperature difference between the body and the surrounding air. And the T-shirt will store this energy, and as soon as you need to recharge, everything will be ready.
But in Sweden they got down to business on a large scale. For almost ten years there has been a successful project that uses people to … heat buildings! A device has been installed at Stockholm Central Station that collects warm air from passing trains and people. This heat exchanger heats water that is piped to an office building next door. This approach can be easily applied in shopping malls, supermarkets, and certainly in busy marinas!
It remains to add that the expression “movement is life” may very soon be transformed into “movement is a guarantee of energy”. It is quite possible that the “age of mobility” will bring quite tangible benefits. Of course, it is too early to talk about its use for the movement of an electric car or boat, but to be able to urgently recharge the gadget is just around the corner.
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