US researchers have invented a nanogenerator that could one day be added to solar panels to keep them producing energy when covered in snow.
The team, based at the University of California, Los Angeles call their invention a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator, or snow TENG. It is made of silicone, a material that has a negative charge. Snow is positively charged, so when they come into contact, they exchange electrons and produce energy.
“It’s a very clever device,” said Richard Kaner, a senior researcher on the team. “The device can work in remote areas because it provides its own power and does not need batteries.”
The snow TENG is small, flexible and inexpensive to produce.