Enhanced energy harvesting performance in lead-free multi-layer piezoelectric composites with a highly aligned pore structure

Mingyang Yan, Shengwen Liu, Qianqian Xu, Zhida Xiao, Xi Yuan, Kechao Zhou, Dou Zhang, Qingping Wang, Chris Bowen, Junwen Zhong, Yan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


The harvesting of mechanical energy from our living environment via piezoelectric energy harvesters to provide power for next generation wearable electronic devices and sensors has attracted significant interest in recent years. Among the range of available piezoelectric materials, porous piezoelectric ceramics exhibit potential for both sensing and energy harvesting applications due to their reduced relative permittivity and enhanced piezoelectric sensing and energy harvesting figures of merit. Despite these developments, the low output power density and the lack of optimized structural design continues to restrict their application. Here, to overcome these challenges, a lead-free multi-layer porous piezoelectric composite energy harvester with a highly aligned pore structure and three-dimensional intercalation electrodes is proposed, fabricated and characterized. The effect of material structure and multi-layer configuration of the porous piezoelectric ceramic on the dielectric properties, piezoelectric response and energy harvesting performance was investigated in detail. Since the relative permittivity is significantly reduced due to the introduction of aligned porosity within the multi-layer structure, the piezoelectric voltage coefficient, energy harvesting figure of merit and output power are greatly enhanced. The multi-layer porous piezoelectric composite energy harvester is shown to generate a maximum output current of 80 μA, with a peak power density of 209 μW cm−2, which is significantly higher than other porous piezoelectric materials reported to date. Moreover, the generated power can charge a 10 μF capacitor from 0 V to 4.0 V in 150 s. This work therefore provides a new strategy for the design and manufacture of porous piezoelectric materials for piezoelectric sensing and energy harvesting applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108096
JournalNano Energy
Early online date15 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Qingping Wang received her Ph.D. degree in Electronic Science and Technology from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in 2018. Postdoc research work was undertaken in National University of Singapore (2019–2020). She has published more than 40 papers including piezoelectric/pyroelectric/ferroelectric materials in sensors, harvester and electrochemistry applications. When she was an associate professor in Hubei University of Education in 2019, she received a postdoc scholarship from China Scholarship Council and started her research at University of Bath from 2021. Her current research interest includes piezoelectric/pyroelectric/ferroelectric energy harvesting and sensing based on nanomaterials and ceramic materials

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the National Key Research and Development Program ( 2021YFB2012100 ) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 52172134 ), Key Research and Development Project of Hunan Province (No. 2020WK2004 ), Overseas Talent Introduction Project of China , Hundred Youth Talents Program of Hunan and State Key Laboratory of Powder Metallurgy, Central South University , Changsha, China.


  • Aligned pore structure
  • Energy harvesting
  • Multi-layer structure
  • Piezoelectric composite
  • Sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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