A 2012 pre-print, Self-Charged Graphene Battery Harvests Electricity from Thermal Energy of the Environment claims that a graphene device was used to generate a voltage of 0.35V by capturing some of the energy of ionic thermal motion in a solution of CuCl2.

They claim to have excluded the possibility that this voltage was driven by a regular chemical reaction.

This result has been widely positively cited on the web. However, it also had its detractors:

Nature had a blog article, Sparks fly over graphene energy device:

Few researchers are convinced.

It cites a few researchers pooh-poohing the result.

I haven't heard of any further developments regarding it.

Was a prototype device built that showed that power could be drawn from ionic thermal motion?

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    Why this random preprint and not any of the better articles in the field (like doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12144-2 for example)?
    – CJR
    Oct 27, 2021 at 4:03
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    I don't think that there's a clear violation of the second law either - there's an increase in entropy associated with changes to the physical components of the system (this probably sets the lifespan of the whole device). I think it's probably garbage science and doesn't actually work (seems like it would have been replicated and not left to rot on arxiv if it worked), but there's a lot of bad science out there. You could ask this question about any of 20,000 preprints or low-tier junk journal articles.
    – CJR
    Oct 27, 2021 at 14:29
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    @CJR: worth noting that the 2019 paper only achieves 0.1V at 25C (and 0.24V at 70C). So the claims in the 2012 paper were probably outlandish. Frankly graphene has a lot more potential in sodium-ion batteries pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsmaterialslett.1c00280 Oct 28, 2021 at 13:24
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    I fully expect this comment to be delete as O/T, but for anyone interested in the latter; here's an open access paper science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abf0812 Oct 28, 2021 at 13:35
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    @GordonM: You mean I can't power my electric car by dragging a bunch of balloons behind it? There goes my plan! Oct 31, 2021 at 21:18


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