Glob Chall. 2022 Aug 7;6(10):2200058. doi: 10.1002/gch2.202200058. eCollection 2022 Oct.
Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) are a new class of energy harvesting devices that have the potential to become a dominating technology for producing renewable energy. The versatility of their designs allows TENGs to harvest mechanical energy from sources like wind and water. Currently used renewable energy technologies have a restricted number of materials from which they can be constructed, such as metals, plastics, semiconductors, and rare-earth metals. These materials are all non-renewable in themselves as they require mining/drilling and are difficult to recycle at end of life. TENGs on the other hand can be built from a large repertoire of materials, including materials from bio-based sources. Here, a TENG constructed fully from wood-derived materials like lignin, cellulose, paper, and cardboard, thus making it 100% green, recyclable, and even biodegradable, is demonstrated. The device can produce a maximum voltage, current, and power of 232 V, 17 mA m-2, and 1.6 W m-2, respectively, which is enough to power electronic systems and charge 6.5 µF capacitors. Finally, the device is used in a smart package application as a self-powered impact sensor. The work shows the feasibility of producing renewable energy technologies that are sustainable both with respect to their energy sources and their material composition.