Researchers in Finland have discovered KBNNO, a certain type of perovskite mineral with the ability to convert energy from several different sources – at the same time.
Many perovskites are already known for harvesting one or two types of energy at a time, but this one, named KBNNO, has a molecular structure ideally suited for extracting energy from multiple sources such as kinetic energy, heat and sunlight into electricity – simultaneously.
Like all perovskites, KBNNO is a ferroelectric material, filled with tiny electric dipoles analogous to tiny compass needles in a magnet, explain researchers Yang Bai and his colleagues at the University of Oulu, Finland.
When ferroelectric materials like KBNNO undergo changes in temperature, their dipoles misalign, which induces an electric current. Electric charge also accumulates according to the direction the dipoles point. Deforming the material causes certain regions to attract or repel charges, again generating a current.
KBNNO is not the best at any one type of energy conversion, but for now, testing of KBNNO suggests it is relatively efficient at all three. It is also very promising that this multitalented material can be improved.
Bai and his colleagues hope to create a multi-energy-harvesting device in the near future.
Research is explained in the journal Applied Physics Letters.