Microgrid Suit Energy
Photo credit: Lu Yin
University of California San Diego nanoengineers have developed a “wearable microgrid” suit that not only harvests energy, but stores it as well, from the human body to power small electronics. The system basically consists of three main parts: sweat-powered biofuel cells, motion-powered devices (triboelectric generators), and energy-storing supercapacitors. These parts are all flexible, washable and can be screen printed directly onto clothing. Read more for a video and additional information.



Each of these parts are screen printed onto a shirt and then placed in a way that optimizes the amount of energy collected. The biofuel cells that harvest energy from sweat are nestled inside the shirt’s chest area, while the devices that convert energy from movement into electricity, called triboelectric generators, are located on the forearms and sides of the torso near the waist. Supercapacitors found outside the shirt on the chest temporarily store energy from both devices and then discharge it to power small electronics, like wristwatches.

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Microgrid Suit Energy

We’re applying the concept of the microgrid to create wearable systems that are powered sustainably, reliably and independently. Just like a city microgrid integrates a variety of local, renewable power sources like wind and solar, a wearable microgrid integrates devices that locally harvest energy from different parts of the body, like sweat and movement, while containing energy storage,” said co-first author Lu Yin, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.