The researchers at the University of Bolton have been working for many years on textile based generators as potential wearable electronic systems and energy harvesters from ambient environment and human movement. For energy harvesting from human movement, the fibre based electrical power generators are highly desirable as they are light weight, flexible and highly comfortable and look no different from the conventional fabrics.
The researchers have perfected the production and evaluation of high β phase (>85%) piezoelectric PVDF monofilament yarn and have recently incorporated them into 3-dimensional knitted spacer structures as the spacer yarn, interconnected between Ag (silver) coated Polyamide multifilament yarn, acting as the top and bottom electrodes (top and bottom fabric faces). These 3-dimensional structures can have thickness from 2 mm to 60 mm and are flexible, comfortable and have excellent compression and resilience properties. It is for the first time that these novel structures have been utilised for developing piezoelectric generators. These novel and unique fabrics are capable of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy and under a peak compressive pressure of 0.10 MPa, the fabric consistently produces a peak volumetric power density of 14.5 µWcm-3. All aspects of this innovative and futuristic technology have been suitably covered with a patent application.
I sincerely feel that FibrLec Ltd., a spin out company from the University of Bolton, has been presented with a rare and unique opportunity for manufacturing and marketing these cutting-edge and futuristic piezoelectric fibres and textile structures for a wide range of applications. In addition to the use of these devices as wearable electronic systems and energy harvesters, they may replace the traditional rechargeable batteries for providing electrical power to low-energy consumption devices, such as wireless body-worn sensors and wearable consumer electronics.
I wish FibrLec Ltd; Bolton, the very best of luck in their new venture and wish them sustained growth and success in their business in the future.
Professor Subhash Anand
MBE; Comp.TI; CText. FTI; B.Sc; M.Sc. Tech; Ph.D; AMCST
Professor of Technical Textiles
Institute of Materials Research and Innovation
University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5AB, U.K.
Former Chairman of The Textile Institute
Telephone: 0044 1204 903507
Mobile: 0044 7916 052 582
The company was formed recently by a University of Bolton graduate. The Institute for Renewable Energy and Environmental Technologies (IREET) and Institute for Materials Research and Innovation (IMRI) both at the University of Bolton are officially regarded as world leading centres for “smart material” science. Professors at the Centres have invented a piezoelectric photovoltaic fibre which is capable of converting energy from sunlight, wind and rain. This new FibrLec material, which is in the form of an extruded polymer, is being taken to market by FibrLec Ltd. The proceeds from the commercialisation will support scholarships and bursaries for students in need of financial support to study in science, technology and maths (STEM) at the University. This is particularly important at a time when the costs of higher education in England for all students have increased significantly.
To build a sustainable brand and to bring the product to market, FibrLec have agreed to be the principal sponsor for the Bolton Wanderers Football Club. This will promote FibrLec’s new and innovative sustainable energy material on a national and international stage through the medium of football and associated publicity.
The University already has a close working relationship with Bolton Wanderers in the field of sport and exercise science and sports rehabilitation for elite athletes. This latest commercial venture builds further on this strategic partnership. As a consequence of this development the new 2013-14 BWFC strip will carry the logo of FibrLec and the University of Bolton in the usual position for principal sponsor. BWFC is proud to work with University of Bolton graduates on a renewable and sustainable energy project which benefits the UK’s carbon footprint and moreover will benefit the next generation of students through scholarships.
FibrLec is a new sustainable energy company working with the University of Bolton to commercialise the University’s innovative smart materials.