Wood as a mini generator

Wood as a mini generator

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.

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Source: “Voltage from wood”, Zurich ETH News