Researchers at ETH Zurich and Empa have chemically modified wood and made it more compressible, turning it into a mini-generator. When compressed, it generates an electrical voltage. Such wood could serve as a biosensor or as a building material that harvests energy.
As Ingo Burgert and his team at ETH Zurich and Empa have proven time and again: wood is so much more than just a building material. Their research is geared to enhancing the properties of wood to fit it for entirely new applications. For instance, they have already developed high-strength, water-repellent and magnetisable wood.
Now, together with the Empa research group led by Francis Schwarze, the team has used one chemical and one biological process to generate electrical voltage from a type of wood sponge. In doing so, they amplify what is known as the “piezoelectric effect” of wood.
Source: “Voltage from wood”, Zurich ETH News