In a statement, FCUP explains that the study, published in the journal Nano Energy and developed by researchers from the Institute of Advanced Materials Physics, Nanotechnology and Photonics, had the mission "to generate energy from the movement of waves".
Within the scope of this study, the researchers developed three nanogenerators that can generate electricity through the movement of waves.
The nanogenerators use two triboelectric materials with different polarities to generate this type of energy.
The goal now is to install these devices on ocean buoys in order to "increase the time of permanence in the sea without human intervention", assures the institution.
Cited in the statement, João Ventura, one of the authors of the work, explains that the devices "use a combination of triboelectric effect - an effect similar to electrostatic shocks - and electrostatic induction to generate electricity from the movement of waves.
In laboratory tests, the researchers placed the devices inside a buoy, simulating sea swell conditions similar to those found in the ocean.
"To take advantage of the multidirectional movement of the waves, we used spheres inside the buoy that maximise the triboelectric effect and the generation of electrical energy for any type of movement," clarifies the researcher, adding that different ways of how this movement can generate electrical energy were tested and optimised.
According to the researchers, "it is not feasible to power" the ocean buoys using conventional approaches such as batteries or solar panels, arguing that it is possible to use the energy of the oceans, a "clean and renewable source with a huge potential for exploitation".
"The study demonstrated a clear dependence of the power generation of these nanogenerators on wave periods and heights, as well as on the hydrodynamic response of the buoy, taking into account its linear and rotational movements," they add.
The team's goal is now to carry out tests in the ocean and to evaluate the possibility of "scaling the technology to generate enough energy to be competitive, using wave motion, with other energy generation technologies".
This study, part of the i.nano.WEC project, which is funded by the Blue Fund, had the collaboration of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI).