A team of scientists from Michigan State University has developed and made a remote forest fire detection system, which is powered by the movement of trees in the wind. Development information is published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Recently, there have been a large number of tragic forest fires: in the west of America, in Brazil and Australia. New technology was created in order to solve this issue. According to scientists, earlier response to forest fires will facilitate their extinguishing, as well as significantly reduce the damage and the volume of human deaths.

Traditional methods for detecting forest fires include satellite monitoring, ground patrolling, surveillance from watch towers, and other methods. All these methods require serious financial and labor resources, and as a result, they do not have great efficiency. Modern remote sensing technologies are replacing the old monitoring methods, but the technologies require a large amount of energy. Solar panels and other clean forms of energy could be used, however, a dense forest does not transmit rays to the batteries, so this is not profitable.

The new TENG technology converts external mechanical energy, such as the movement of a tree branch, into electricity using a triboelectric effect. This is a phenomenon in which some materials become electrically charged after they are separated from the second object with which they previously came into contact.

With a very low vibration frequency, the MC-TENG can efficiently generate electricity to charge the connected supercapacitor in less than three minutes.

Changyun Cao, lead author of the research

MC-TENG has sporadically generated electric current in a carbon nanotube-based micro-supercapacitor. Researchers have chosen this technology since it quickly charges the device only from short, but strong gusts of wind.