Hybrid cell for harvesting multiple-type energies
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An abundance of energy in our environment exists in the form of light, thermal, mechanical (e.g., vibration, sonic waves, wind, and hydraulic), magnetic, chemical, and biological. Harvesting these forms of energy is of critical importance for solving long-term energy needs and the sustainable development of the planet. However, conversion cells for harvesting solar energy and mechanical energy are usually independent entities that are designed and built following distinct physical principles. The effective and complementary use of such energy resources whenever and wherever one or all of them are available demands the development of innovative approaches for the conjunctional harvesting of multiple types of energy using an integrated structure/material. By combining solar and mechanical energy-harvesting modules into a single package for higher energy conversion efficiency and a more effective energy recovery process, the research has designed and demonstrated a hybrid cell for harvesting solar and mechanical energy. The results of the research show that we can fully utilize the energy available from our living environment by developing a technology that harvests multiple forms of both solar and mechanical energy 24 hours a day. As the proposed research represents a breakthrough in the innovation of energy harvesting, it should pave the way toward building a new field called "multi-type hybrid" energy harvesting.