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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering >> 2023, Volume 17, Issue 6 doi: 10.1007/s11705-022-2271-y

Triboelectric nanogenerators: the beginning of blue dream

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Wave energy is inexhaustible renewable energy. Making full use of the huge ocean wave energy resources is the dream of mankind for hundreds of years. Nowadays, the utilization of water wave energy is mainly absorbed and transformed by electromagnetic generators (EMGs) in the form of mechanical energy. However, waves usually have low frequency and uncertainty, which means low power generation efficiency for EMGs. Fortunately, in this slow current and random direction wave case, the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) has a relatively stable output power, which is suitable for collecting blue energy. This article summarizes the main research results of TENG in harvesting blue energy. Firstly, based on Maxwell’s displacement current, the basic principle of the nanogenerator is expounded. Then, four working modes and three applications of TENG are introduced, especially the application of TENG in blue energy. TENG currently used in blue energy harvesting is divided into four categories and discussed in detail. After TENG harvests water wave energy, it is meaningless if it cannot be used. Therefore, the modular storage of TENG energy is discussed. The output power of a single TENG unit is relatively low, which cannot meet the demand for high power. Thus, the networking strategy of large-scale TENG is further introduced. TENG’s energy comes from water waves, and each TENG’s output has great randomness, which is very unfavorable for the energy storage after large-scale TENG integration. On this basis, this paper discusses the power management methods of TENG. In addition, in order to further prove its economic and environmental advantages, the economic benefits of TENG are also evaluated. Finally, the development potential of TENG in the field of blue energy and some problems that need to be solved urgently are briefly summarized.

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