Electrochemically driven mechanical energy harvesting

Sangtae Kim, Soon Ju Choi, Kejie Zhao, Hui Yang, Giorgia Gobbi, Sulin Zhang, Ju Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Efficient mechanical energy harvesters enable various wearable devices and auxiliary energy supply. Here we report a novel class of mechanical energy harvesters via stress-voltage coupling in electrochemically alloyed electrodes. The device consists of two identical Li-alloyed Si as electrodes, separated by electrolyte-soaked polymer membranes. Bending-induced asymmetric stresses generate chemical potential difference, driving lithium ion flux from the compressed to the tensed electrode to generate electrical current. Removing the bending reverses ion flux and electrical current. Our thermodynamic analysis reveals that the ideal energy-harvesting efficiency of this device is dictated by the Poisson's ratio of the electrodes. For the thin-film-based energy harvester used in this study, the device has achieved a generating capacity of 15%. The device demonstrates a practical use of stress-composition-voltage coupling in electrochemically active alloys to harvest low-grade mechanical energies from various low-frequency motions, such as everyday human activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10146
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jan 6 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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