adobe Stock/viperagp

Solar panels aren’t ideal in areas with heavy snow accumulation, due to their inability to harvest energy if the panels are always covered in snow. Now, according to New Atlas, a team of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have developed a new device that can produce electricity from the snow itself. Called a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator, or Snow TENG, the device works off the triboelectric effect and uses static electricity to generate a charge through the exchange of electrons.

Snow is positively charged, so rubbing it against a material with the opposite charge allows energy to be drawn out of it. After a comprehensive series of testing, the team settled on silicone as the most effective material.

The Snow TENG, which is 3D printable, is made with a layer of silicone attached to an electrode. The team says it could be integrated into solar panels, so they can continue generating electricity even when covered with snow, making it similar to an earlier hybrid solar cell that also harvested energy from the movement of raindrops on its surface.

Read More