Triboelectric Nano Generator (TENG) for Mars Exploration and High Altitude Power Generation on Earth

PI: Meyya Meyyappan, NASA/Ames Research Center, Jin Ho Kang (Co-I), NASA/Langley Research Center

This project will field-test the in-house developed triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) that can harvest energy from the wind and all kinds of vibrations and motions. A TENG is an energy-harvesting device that converts the external mechanical energy (such as wind and any other motion/vibration) into electricity by a conjunction of triboelectric effect and electrostatic induction through rubbing two sheets of materials. The TENG is an extremely lightweight alternative to conventional (but heavy) electromagnetic motors and ideally suited for Mars exploration due to its launching and propulsion cost advantages.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA03 Space Power & energy Storage
Problem Statement

A potential is created by the triboelectric effect due to the charge transfer between two thin organic/inorganic films that exhibit opposite tribo-polarity. Electrons are driven to flow between two electrodes attached on the backsides of the films in order to balance the potential. The amount of energy generated depends on the source and can range from mW and MW.

Technology Maturation

The goal of using TENG on Mars one day for wind power generation has to overcome several known and unknown technical challenges, and the next step in the process is a realistic test bed in a balloon flight. The Martian surface wind can be emulated at 15-18km altitude on earth. The balloon flight can simultaneously demonstrate the commercial benefits for the high-altitude wind energy.

Future Customers


Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NASA Directed
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Balloon

Development Team

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