Beeby, S.P., Torah, R.N. and Tudor, M.J.
Kinetic energy harvesting.
In, ACT Workshop on Innovative Concepts, Noordwijk-Binnen, NL,
28 - 29 Oct 2008.
This paper reviews kinetic energy harvesting as a potential localised power supply for wireless applications. Harvesting devices are typically implemented as resonant devices of which the power output depends upon the size of the inertial mass, the frequency and amplitude of the driving vibrations, the maximum available mass displacement and the damping. Three transduction mechanisms are currently primarily employed to convert mechanical into electrical energy: electromagnetic, piezoelectric and electrostatic. Piezoelectric and electrostatic mechanisms are best suited to small size MEMS implementations, but the power output from such devices is at present limited to a few microwatts. An electromagnetic generator implemented with discrete components has produced a power 120 μW with the highest recorded efficiency to date of 51% for a device of this size reported to date. The packaged device is 0.8 cm3 and weighs 1.6 grams. The suitability of the technology in space applications will be determined by the nature of the available kinetic energy and the required level of output power. A radioactively coupled device may present an opportunity where suitable vibrations do not exist.
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