The current temperature-rising trend is extremely important because most of it is a result of human activities since the mid-20th century. There is no doubt that increasing the amount of greenhouse gases results in rising temperature on Earth. In order to reduce human impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate changes, the usage of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is essential. Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy source available. However, commercially used solar cells have an energy conversion efficiency of approximately only 20%. Wind turbines, on the other hand, have a significantly higher energy conversion efficiency of between 35% to 45%. Nevertheless, wind turbines are expensive to manufacture and difficult to install in residential areas due to their sizes and loud noises.
The triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) is one key nanotechnology-based invention that has the potential to harvest wind energy at greater efficiencies than current technologies. The fundamental principle behind TENGs is the triboelectric effect, which causes certain materials to become electrically charged after rubbing against another material. The sign and strength of the charges generated depend on the materials, surface roughness, temperature, and many other properties of the TENGs. In order to understand how one factor, the triboelectric material combination, affects the performance of wind-based triboelectric nanogenerators (W-TENGs), standardized experiments were conducted. Five double-side-fixed mode W-TENGs with inner dimensions of 80 mm ⨉ 40 mm ⨉ 20 mm were designed and constructed. Each W-TENG is composed of a material pair, including a nickel copper textile with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film, a nickel copper textile with fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) film, copper tape with PTFE film, copper tape with FEP film, and aluminum tape with PTFE film. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) and an atomic force microscope (AFM) were used to characterize the surface morphologies of the materials. The power outputs of W-TENGs were obtained by measuring the open-circuit voltages and short-circuit currents. The material pair with the best output performance was then determined.