The University of Limerick (UL) team had previously discovered that applying pressure to a protein found in egg whites and tears can generate electricity.
Now it has made a fresh breakthrough by producing power from forestry residues, a natural material that can be produced extremely cheaply.
Scientists at UL’s Bernal Institute have discovered that the molecule glycine, when tapped or squeezed, can generate enough electricity to power electrical devices in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable way.
Glycine is the simplest amino acid.
“It is really exciting that such a tiny molecule can generate so much electricity,” lead author Sarah Guerin said.
The research was published in leading international journal ‘Nature Materials’.