Piezoelectric materials that create energy when flexed might go beyond recharging our smart phones and help make hydrogen fuel. Scientists have harnessed piezoelectric energy from nanocrystal fibers to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
"This is a new phenomenon, converting mechanical energy directly to chemical energy," said Huifang Xu, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and his colleagues have dubbed it the piezoelectrochemical (PZEC) effect.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.