High power-output and highly stretchable protein-based biomechanical energy harvester

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Original languageEnglish
Article number138714
Number of pages11
Journal / PublicationChemical Engineering Journal
Issue numberPart 3
Online published27 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


To meet the rising demand for wearable electronics with high power demand, biomechanical energy harvester based on stretchable materials with high triboelectric charge densities are required. Soy protein (SP) represents a prospective tribopositive material; however, its application is limited due to its brittle nature. Herein, we report the doping of SP with hygroscopic CaCl2 to afford a tribolayer film with improved tribopositivity and stretchability, where Ca2+ disperses evenly in SP via electrostatic interactions. The water molecules adsorbed by CaCl2 form hydrogen bonds with SP chains and improve the charge-donating ability. The optimal SP–CaCl2-0.30 film with CaCl2-doping concentration of 0.30 mmol exhibits high resilience (elongation at break: 130 %) compared with the pristine SP film (elongation at break: 4 %). The device based on SP–CaCl2-0.30 as the positive tribolayer and Ecoflex as counterpart yields open circuit voltage, short circuit current, and short-circuit transferred charge of 130 V, 4.4 µA, and 44 nC, respectively. When the load resistance matches the device's internal resistance, the peak transient power reaches 1125 mW/m2. Moreover, the device output is maintained even after 5000 of stretch and release cycles, and the harvested charge from the bending and release motions of the finger and elbow reach 3.5 nC and 40 nC, respectively. This study demonstrates a prospective approach toward protein-based energy harvesting with high stretchability and electrical output, showing significant potential for application in wearable electronics for biomechanical energy harvesting and relative humidity monitoring.

Research Area(s)

  • Energy harvesting, Positive tribolayer, Stretchable soy protein film, Water retention