What is it about?

Electricity-generating devices are among the most popular recent topics due to increasing global energy requirements, which have propelled many researchers to investigate different approaches. One approach involves electroreceptive animals. In this regard, we proposed a polymer-based energy generator converting Gibbs free energy into usable electricity. We developed a polymer-based device inspired by electric eels and modified it to extend the maximum power generation limits by adding nickel-nickel and aluminum-copper current collector (CC) backings. Thus, the imitation of electrocytes and the aims to increase the voltage, which was generated by taking advantage of electrochemical reactions between metals and polymers, were successfully achieved. In each tetrameric package () supported by nickel-nickel CCs, the voltage output was more than 350 mV, while tetrameric cells with copper-aluminum CC pairs led to an open-circuit voltage of more than 900 mV. The conversion of free energy into electricity is attributed to the electricity generation of cells supported by the Ni-Ni CC pair to the ion gradient between the layers, as in electrocyte. In the case of using Cu-Al CCs, electrochemical reactions between the supporting metals and polymers are prominent. The generation of such high voltages is due to the ion concentration gradient and electrochemical interactions. Only slight changes in the output voltage value related to the corrosion on the aluminum CC in time provide a distinctive advantage for long-term power needs. Thus, it can be stated that this bioinspired energy-generating device offers the potential for eventually becoming a power source for small-scale electrical systems and for fulfilling daily personal energy needs.

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Why is it important?

According to similar studies, at least five times more voltage is obtained, and at the same time, it takes more than one week in the system we have developed. In contrast, devices with similar mechanisms can receive energy for 300 seconds. Even after replacing the current collector, the time gets longer. Therefore, a progressive electricity-generating device with visible improvements has been developed and presented with innovative approaches.

Perspectives

This system is being further developed and improved. The new version will be released as soon as possible, so system design with a progressive approach can be pioneering.

İsmail Bütün

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This page is a summary of: Polymer based electricity generation inspired by eel electrocytes, International Journal of Energy Research, August 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/er.8568.
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