Researchers at Jadavpur University in Kolkata have created an environmentally-friendly method of energy harvesting from the scales of fish.
Using the carp scales in their experiment at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology in Indore, the researchers were able to generate enough electricity to light up 77 LEDs with gentle hand slaps.
“We were able to make a bio-piezoelectric nanogenerator – a.k.a. energy harvester – with electrodes on both sides, and then laminated it,” said Dipankar Mandal, assistant professor, Organic Nano-Piezoelectric Device Laboratory, Department of Physics.
The process was simple. The researchers collected a whole lot of fish scales easily available in a city like Kolkata’s. They then used a process called demineralization to make the scales transparent and flexible.
Gold electrodes were fitted on them and the scales were laminated. The collagen in the scales makes it possible to generate electric charge when mechanical stress is applied.
Energy from body motions, sound vibrations and wind flow can be converted into electrical power by the generator.
“In the future, our goal is to implant a bio-piezoelectric nanogenerator into a heart for pacemaker devices, where it will continuously generate power from heartbeats for the device’s operation,” Mandal said.
“Then it will degrade when no longer needed. Since heart tissue is also composed of collagen, our bio-piezoelectric nanogenerator is expected to be very compatible with the heart.”
Mandal and his colleague Sujoy Kumar Ghosh reported their findings recently in the journal Applied Physics Letters.