At Health Tech Insider, we’re suckers for a good wearable energy-harvesting technology. If you can harvest sufficient electricity from your clothing to power wearable devices, you don’t need to replace or recharge batteries. In early 2015, Alfred Poor wrote about researchers at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea who developed cloth that generates electricity as you move. This past April, Amantha May covered work at the University of California San Diego on a wearable microgrid that harvests and stores electricity from the human body. Researchers at Rice University employ a variety of approaches to energy harvesting from diverse sources such as magnetism and a knee brace.

Physicists at Rice recently published a paper in Nature Communications with scientists from Tokyo Metropolitan University and the Carbon Hub, which is a zero emissions research center associated with Rice. The paper outlines the researchers’ work developing woven nanotube fibers that turn heat into electrical power. The breakthrough associated with this work is the nanotube-based fabric’s “ultrahigh electrical conductivity,” according to Rice graduate student Natsumi Komatsu, the lead of author of the paper. The nanotube assemblies generate about 14 milliwatts per meter kelvin squared, a measure of thermal energy conversion. The Rice thermoelectric generator achieves a “giant power factor”: a level greater than other previous nanomaterial assemblies according to the researchers.

Scientists at Rice and the associated research centers continue to develop woven nanotube fibers to take advantage of their high electrical conductivity. You can’t buy a shirt or a vest with nanotube fibers yet that can power your personal devices. However, the interest in zero emissions technologies will help drive energy harvesting to power wearables and other portable devices.