Solar panels can produce electricity using snow

Solar panels are used extensively in remote corners of the planet to generate electricity, and for their effective work it is necessary that the surface of the panels was constantly open. Unfortunately, in the snowy regions to protect yourself from this impossible — the snow cover is quickly and easily placed around the perimeter of the panels, blocking the sunlight. Researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles have partly solved this problem by creating an additional panel which generates the electricity interacting directly with the fallen snow.

Snow TENG

The researchers call their creation “a triboelectric nanogenerator”, or Snow TENG. As the name implies, the panel produces electricity through the triboelectric effect, when electrical charges arising from friction of some charged particles with others. In the case of device Snow TENG, a positively charged object is the snow, and a negative applied to the surface of the silicone panels connected to the electrodes.

Panel Snow TENG can be printed on a 3D printer and integrate any solar panels, so they can continue to produce energy even in heavy snowfall. Unfortunately, produced from the snow the energy is not enough to support large devices — the specific power of the generator is equal to 0.2 mW per square meter. However, this energy is enough to power a weather sensor.

The static energy is used to generate energy from the movements of fingers on the touch screen and even pacing the floor. Also previously created a solar battery that produces energy when rolling on its panels rain drops. These devices are not yet applied on a large scale, and the fate of the Snow TENG is also still in question.

How do you think would be useful panel to generate electricity from snow? Share your opinion in the comments, or our Telegram chat.

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