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Electricity from Eggshells: IIT Kharagpur Finds Novel Way to Power Wearable Gadgets!

A team from IIT Kharagpur is trying to find a green alternative to present energy and power sources.

Scientists at IIT Kharagpur, have found an interesting way to use eggshell proteins to develop tiny devices that can harvest electricity from body movements, reports Business Standard. These could power wearable sensors and devices in the future.

You will never again throw eggshells away, without thinking about this!

According to researchers, eggshell membrane proteins have piezoelectric properties, allowing them to produce electricity under mechanical stress. Non-toxic and bio-compatible, bio-inspired piezoelectric materials are considered an excellent energy harvesting source, which can give our energy deficient world enough power, without increasing environmental pollution.

The humble eggshell, can become a source of power, claim researchers at IIT Kharagpur. Image Credit:- Phu Thinh Co
The humble eggshell, can become a source of power, claim researchers at IIT Kharagpur. Image Credit:- Phu Thinh Co

Bhanu Bhusan Khatua, a professor at IIT Kharagpur, in West Bengal, told PTI over the phone, that bio-based green energy is still to be effectively explored, so the energy demand of contemporary humankind can be fulfilled.

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The team isolated the soft membrane present inside eggshells, and coated it on both sides with thin copper tapes, attaching gold electrodes to them. The arrangement was then encapsulated in a silicon-based organic polymer. Assembling 5 of these devices can power over 90 green LED’s, and according to findings, this can be commercialised.

Ultra-sensitive towards any minute pressure arising from the pulse, body motions at rest and walking conditions, and water drops, the device can be used to power numerous applications like fitness trackers, health monitors and sensors.

Khatua, who has led the research published in the journal ‘Materials Today Energy’, said that this innovation would provide considerable benefits to future energy science, especially in-vivo biomedical applications.

According to researchers, the device may be able to replace conventional ways of powering medical devices, in the near future.

Researchers from the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea collaborated with the researchers at IIT.

The researchers claim this work would help uplift the green energy harvesting technology, as self-powered and wearable electronics. They also said that these non-traditional biomechanical energy sources could replace batteries.


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Khatua and his team, have also worked with an onion peel-based piezoelectric nanogenerator, focused on using cellulose-based materials for energy harvesting applications.

The professor sounds optimistic about using non-traditional sources to generate power and says the team is exploring other biomaterials, like natural silk, cellulose-based nano-fibres, etc., which may have higher piezoelectric coefficient and output performances, for broad application areas, including healthcare monitoring.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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