SCIENTISTS at the University of Bolton are close to creating a world where laptops, mobile phones and mp3s recharge themselves using energy from the elements.

A revolutionary “smart material” which harnesses wind, rain and sun power has been developed by experts from the University’s Institute for Materials Research and Innovation.

They are already working with a company in China to bring the new material into everyday use.

Director of Research at the University, Professor Elias Siores, said: “There is nothing like it in the market at present.

“Our material has so much potential.

“The most immediate applications will be in the area of low-power microelectronic- driven devices like mobiles, laptops, mp3s, Ipads — anything that requires re-chargeable batteries or small batteries to run.

“Obviously you would not leave your laptop out in the wind and the rain but movement created by being carried in its case or being placed near a window could be enough to generate the energy to recharge it.

“The next challenge will then be to improve on the power conversion through ongoing research and development so it can feed more power-hungry systems.”

The research team is set to start producing samples of the material using equipment bought through £1 million funding from Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry.

The team will then begin testing the material's effectiveness. They will also be carrying out tests for its effectiveness in generating electricity Saturday, October 30, 2010 3 University leads the way in energy-creating fabric by Saiqa Chaudhari from wave movement, under the ocean.

Professor Siores said: “We’re also looking at its potential in space as well.

This fibre has endless possibilities, we are limited just by our imagination.”

One watt of energy can be generated per 20cm x 20cm square of the material.

Research Fellow Dr Ravi Hadimani said: “The advantage of a hybrid photovoltaic and piezoelectric cell is that it can generate energy when there is no sunlight on a rainy or windy day, by using wind and rain energy.

When you consider a low-energy light bulb uses nine watts you can see that now, even in its early development stages, the material is producing credible power.”

The Institute for M a t e r i a l s Research and Innovation at the University of Bolton is a leading UK research centre for smart materials development.