Funded but the European Research Council (ERC), the project, called ‘NEMESIS,’ will look at novel materials that are capable of harvesting the vibrations of machines or vehicles and converting the energy into electricity. 

This electricity can then be used to power devices within a vehicle or machine, including damage sensors or consumer electronics.

It will also attempt to develop new methods for water splitting by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen in order to create clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

Specifically, the centre aims to create new piezoelectric and ferroelectric energy harvesting systems capable of converting mechanical vibrations into electrical energy, thermal fluctuations into electrical energy, sunlight into chemical and electrical energy, and vibrations into chemical energy.

Project lead professor Chris Bowen said: “As we continually strive to create safer and more efficient machines and vehicles, the need to power sensors that can safely sit in potentially very hot and hostile environments near the engine, where batteries would be unsafe or impractical, has increased.

“Clean energies are also a high priority for modern society, and through our research we aim to create nano-structured ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials that can be used to split water, creating clean, environmentally-friendly hydrogen fuel.

“Setting up a world-leading research centre here in the UK will put us at the forefront of this increasingly important field of work. The new Centre brings together experts in from different disciplines, including materials, physics, chemistry and electrical engineering, offering an ideal environment in which to develop new and innovative solutions to generating and harvesting energy.”

Conor McGlone

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