Jul 23, 2022

Energy Harvester Produces Power from Local Environment, Eliminating Batteries in Wireless Sensors

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Advances in low power technology are making it easier to create wireless sensor networks in a wide range of applications, from remote sensing to HVAC monitoring, asset tracking and industrial automation. The problem is that even wireless sensors require batteries that must be regularly replaced—a costly and cumbersome maintenance project. A better wireless power solution would be to harvest ambient mechanical, thermal or electromagnetic energy from the sensor’s local environment.

Typically, harvestable ambient power is on the order of tens of microwatts, so energy harvesting requires careful power management in order to successfully capture microwatts of ambient power and store it in a useable energy reservoir. One common form of ambient energy is mechanical vibration energy, which can be caused by motors running in a factory, airflow across a fan blade or even by a moving vehicle. A piezoelectric transducer can be used to convert these forms of vibration energy into electrical energy, which in turn can be used to power circuitry.

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