It’s been eight years since Zhong Lin Wang launched pioneering research into triboelectric nanogenerators, effectively creating an entirely new field of study into materials that produce an electrical charge when in motion.
This week, Wang, the Hightower Chair and Regents’ Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering, was named the winner of the Eni Award for Energy Frontiers.
The award is one of three awarded each year by the Italian-based oil and gas company Eni, which established the prize a decade ago with a goal of being similar to the Nobel prize for energy. The award recognizes researchers who have made significant contributions to the industry.
Wang’s research uncovered a new pathway to harvesting energy from a variety of sources such as wind, ocean currents or sound vibrations.
“This is a great honor for me and recognition of the tremendous potential we have to capture the random mechanical energy that surrounds us every day,” Wang said. “Triboelectric nanogenerators have broad applications for harvesting energy from human activities such as rotating tires, mechanical vibration and more, with great applications in self-powered systems for personal electronics, environmental monitoring, and medical.”