Blue Energy Collection toward All-Hours Self-Powered Chemical Energy Conversion
Ningning Zhai,1 Zhen Wen,1, * Xiaoping Chen,2 Aimin Wei,1 Mo Sha,1 Jingjing Fu,1 Yina Liu2, Jun Zhong,1,* and Xuhui Sun1,*
1Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Materials Laboratory (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
The conversion and transmission of blue energy in the ocean are critical issues. By employing triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), blue energy can be harvested but the corresponding electricity transmission and storage are still great challenges. In this work, an automatic high-efficiency self-powered energy collection and conversion system is proposed that converts blue energy to chemical energy. A gear-driven unidirectional acceleration TENG is designed to convert disordered and low-frequency water wave energy to low voltage and high current DC output. The output bias from the TENG can be used to drive a Ti–Fe2O3/FeNiOOH based photoelectrochemical cell under sunlight to produce hydrogen. Moreover, under the situation without sunlight, the self-powered system can be automatically switched to another working state to charge a Co3O4 based lithium-ion battery. The hydrogen production rate reaches to 4.65 μL min-1 under sunlight at the rotation speed of 120 rpm. The conversion efficiency of the whole system is calculated to be 2.29%. The system triggered by photoswitches can automatically switch between two working states with or without sunlight and convert the blue energy to either hydrogen energy or battery energy for easy storage and transmission, which widens the future applications for blue energy.