Good vibrations for energy harvesting

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

A wide range of low-power industrial sensors and controllers are turning to alternative sources of energy as the primary or supplemental means of supplying power. Ideally, such harvested energy will eliminate the need for wired power or batteries altogether. Transducers that create electricity from readily available physical sources such as temper

Good vibrations for energy harvesting
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ature differentials (thermoelectric generators or thermopiles), mechanical vibration or strain (piezoelectric or electromechanical devices) and light (photovoltaic devices) are becoming viable sources of power for many applications. Numerous wireless sensors, remote monitors, and other low-power applications are on track to become near-zero-power devices using harvested energy only (commonly referred to by some as nanopower). Although energy harvesting has been emerging since early 2000 (its embryonic phase), recent technology developments have pushed it to the point of commercial viability. In short, in 2010 we are at an inflection point and are poised for the commencement of the growth phase. Building-automation sensor applications using energy-harvesting techniques have already been deployed in Europe, illustrating that the growth stage may already be underway. Even though the The concept of energy harvesting has been around for a number of years, the implementation of a system in a real world environment has been cumbersome, complex and costly. Nevertheless, examples of markets where an energy-harvesting approach has been used include transportation infrastructure, wireless medical devices, tire pressure sensing, and the largest so far, building automation. In the case of building automation, systems such as occupancy sensors, thermostats and light switches can eliminate the power or control wiring normally required and...

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