Chinese, U.S. scientists invent power-generating fabric

CHONGQING — Playing a baseball game on a sunny afternoon may soon be a way to charge your iPhone, thanks to a new fabric developed by Chinese and American scientists.

The fabric harvests energy from both motion and sunlight. Solar cells and nano-generators embedded in lightweight fibers are woven with wool to create the fabric, according to Fan Xing, a chemical engineering professor at Chongqing University.

Only 0.32 millimeters thick, the fabric could be used with wearable devices, or as window shades and tents in the future, Fan told Xinhua on Friday.

With sufficient sunlight and constant motion, a 5-cm long and 4-cm wide fabric can generate and maintain electricity with a voltage of 5V, enough to charge a cellphone.

“Our research considers the safety of the fabric and we conduct our tests at low voltage,” Fan said. “The fabric is safe for human body.”

Durability tests have not yet been run, but the fabric can be bent 500 times without losing performance.

The findings, in cooperation from the Georgia Institute of Technology, were published in Nature Energy, an international academic journal earlier this month. PNA/