Scientists have achieved a new first in the field of green energy and the 'internet of things' by merging nano technology and solar energy gathering cells to convert wind power into usable electricity.
The internet of things (IoT) describes a move towards making urban areas work more smartly by linking up huge networks of tiny communications devices to facilitate various necessary efficiencies. To do this, a huge amount of energy is needed, and researchers are focusing on renewable energy strategies to minimise fossil fuel usage.
The new nano devices will go into cities and will need sustainable power generation in places where space is at a premium. The new test device, however, will be able to capture energy from both wind and solar power and transform it into usable energy to power smart city regions, which are expected to be home to billions of these tiny IoT gadgets in the new few years.
Scientists have created a first by integrating two types of energy capability in this way - firstly, a silicon-based solar power cell, alongside a nano-generator, which will capture wind energy and transform it into power. Each tiny cell will produce an impressive 8MW of clean power from the solar element and as much as 26 mW for the wind element.
A model home has been used to test the devices, and four were found to be sufficient to power interior LED lights and a temperature-regulating sensor. The anticipation is that the hybrid technology will be installed ultimately in huge numbers across city rooftops.
Progress in the field of renewable adoption generally is gathering pace, with Portugal the latest country to run entirely on green energies - solar, wind and hydro - for 107 hours in a row in May.