Highly porous composite aerogel based triboelectric nanogenerators for high performance energy generation and versatile self-powered sensing†
Boosting power generation performance while employing economical and biocompatible materials is an ongoing direction in the field of triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). Here, highly porous, biocompatible, cellulose nanofibril (CNF) composite-based TENGs are developed through an environmentally friendly freeze-drying approach. High tribopositivity materials, including silica fiber, human hair, and rabbit fur, are used as fillers in composite TENG fabrication for the first time to enhance the triboelectric output performance. Among them, a CNF/rabbit fur composite aerogel-based TENG offers the optimum energy generation ability with a high power density of 3.4 W m−2 achieved on a 4.7 MΩ load at a pressure of 30 kPa. Owing to the high output, the porous composite TENG exhibits an excellent energy harvesting performance and high sensitivity in detecting ultralight forces and monitoring human motion when used as a self-powered sensor. This work introduces a new class of highly porous composite TENGs that integrate biocompatibility, low cost, flexibility, high energy generation performance, and sensing sensitivity, as well as providing new strategies for high performance TENG design and fabrication.