How Low Cost Bio-Material Can Be Used to Generate Electricity


In today’s world, where there is an emphasis on energy conservation. Efforts are constantly being made to find low cost, environment friendly, efficient alternatives for power sources. Recently, scientists have made a new breakthrough to this end, when research was conducted at the University of Limerick in Ireland concerning the biomolecule glycine. It has been found that this biomolecule may be able to provide enough electricity to power mobile phone speakers and motion detectors in cars and video games. Read on to find out more about these new findings.

What is Glycine and What Are its Advantages?

Glycine is a simple amino acid which occurs in practically all agro and forest residues and can produced at 1% of the cost of the piezoelectric materials that are currently used. These piezoelectric materials generate electricity in response to pressure and vice versa, and are widely used in cars, phones, remote controls and game consoles. These materials are often synthetic and can contain toxic elements such as lead and lithium, making glycine a healthier and less expensive option.

Research Conducted at the University of Limerick

Scientists at the University of Limerick’s Bernal Institute conducted research by using computer models to predict the electrical response in various crystals and glycine, proved to be an excellent energy source. Long, narrow crystals were shown to produce electricity simply by tapping them.

The modeling data used can tell us what kinds of crystals are needed to grow and the best places to cut and press them to best generate electricity, saving years of time spent on trial and error experimentation. The University has a patent pending that would allow their findings to be used in applications including power generation, devices that detect disease inside the body and physiologically controlled drug pumps.

The current findings can make great strides in sources for electricity that are both low-cost and pragmatic. It also opens the door for bio-piezolectricity in large scale and affordable applications, as well as putting Bernal scientists at the forefront of the development of bio-piezoelectric devices. It will be interesting to find out how these findings are expanded on as researchers continue to pioneer the use of biological crystals for electrical applications.