What is Energy Harvesting ?
Nature and the environment that surrounds us wherever, heat, light(solar) energy, wind energy, mechanical energy is being generated.
So far, the energy generated from those sources of energy has been difficult to be utilized for electric power in the real world because generated volume was too small. However, we may overcome these limitations by the evolution of technology.
In particular, an advancement of semiconductor technology allows us to capture those energy much easier than before. Also, it enables us to store and manage the captured energy for future use.
Energy harvesting device is required to efficiently and effectively capture, storage and manage the energy in order to perform useful work. If we realize the technology, the device can be utilized as a power source for various sensors, various applications and control circuit. Also we expect these devices will be utilized as a power source for the next IoT(Internet of Things) too.
Energy Harvesting Source Today
Why Energy Harvesting ?
Through the development of technology, the efficiency of converting into electric energy is getting higher and the technology enables the device to capture a very small amount of energy from the environment.
In addition, thanks to advancement in microprocessor technology, power consumption is reduced while power efficiency is increased.
These developments is getting helpful for those who study new applications with using energy harvesting devices.
Natural energy can be harvested indefinitely from nature.
Therefore, if it can replace the electrical plug and expensive battery for driving the apparatus, it surely be an attractive alternative.
If we properly design the device and it is properly installed, we may realize maintenance-free and use the applied product for long time enough until its service life.
Therefore, energy harvesting system may replace a conventional power plug and the battery. In addition, we expect Energy harvesting technology is to supplement the primary power source, improve the reliability of the entire system. It can be an alternative energy source to prevent power interruption.
Energy Harvesting Application
We can take advantage of energy harvesting technology for various applications. Wireless sensor network system, such as ZigBee communication can utilize energy harvesting system to solve the problem of using conventional power supply or battery.
Key Components of an Energy Harvesting System
- Mechanical Energy : the vibration source, such as mechanical stress and strain
- Heat : a furnace, heater, waste heat generated from friction source
- Light Energy : Obtained from the photosensor, sunlight or room light through a photodiode or solar panels
- Electromagnetic Energy : Inductors, Coils, Transformers
- The Natural Energy : wind, water currents, ocean currents, solar, etc.
- Human Body : mechanical and thermal energy generated through actions such as sitting or walking, and natural biological organisms
- Other Energy : chemical and biological sources
Optional Key Components of an Energy Harvesting System
- Energy converting : Capturing energy from the low voltage, power energy harvesting module for indoor use in power conversion.
- Energy Storage : Thin-film batteries, ultra- capacitors, super capacitors, such as the secondary energy storage device.
- Energy Management : Control the power output from the energy storage device, the module for managing
Thermoelectric power generation using candles
Thermoelectric power generation using body heat