IIT-Kharagpur scientists use eggshell membrane to generate electricity

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Jun 2018 09:59:13


 

NEW DELHI,

Proteins found in eggshell membranes have piezoelectric properties, that is, under mechanical stress they produce electricity, say researchers

SCIENTISTS from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur have used eggshell proteins to develop tiny devices that can harvest electricity from body movements, and could power wearable sensors and devices in future.
Proteins found in eggshell membranes have piezoelectric properties, that is, under mechanical stress they produce electricity, researchers said. Bio-inspired piezoelectric materials are considered to be an excellent energy harvesting source, since they are non-toxic and bio-compatible.


They also have the ability to generate significant power to the energy deficient world without contributing to environmental pollution.
“However, bio-based green energy is still effectively not explored to fulfil the energy demand of contemporary human mankind,” Bhanu Bhusan Khatua, a professor at IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal, told PTI over telephone.


“Reported bio-piezoelectric have serious drawbacks, such as availability, toxicity, non-biodegradable, non-biocompatibility, industrially unfavorable as well as complex fabrication steps, which limit its potential applications in real life,” said Khatua, who led research published in the journal Materials Today Energy.


“The uniqueness of our work lies in the novelty of utilising nature driven egg shell membrane directly as efficient piezoelectric material, which are thrown in large scale to garbage in our everyday life,” he said.


“This simple innovative homespun approach definitely would provide huge benefit to future energy science, especially in-vivo biomedical applications,” he added. The device may be able to replace conventional ways of powering medical devices in the future, researchers said.
To build the device, researchers including those from Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, isolated the soft membrane present inside the eggshell.


The membrane was coated on both sides with thin copper tapes, and gold electrodes were attached to them. The arrangement was encapsulated in silicon-based organic polymer. Researchers showed that assembling five of these devices provides enough voltage to light-up over 90 green LEDs. The findings suggest that the advance can be effectively commercialised.