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Multi–Source Energy Harvesting

Project Objective

Creating a more robust and versatile energy harvesting system by utilizing multiple energy sources on one system would increase the number of sensor applications where large storage batteries can be eliminated and the system's battery life does not dictate the operating lifetime.

Project Description

Much of the work on ambient energy harvesting currently focuses on maximizing the efficiency of the power extraction method or increasing the power output. However, an important goal is still out of reach: to produce sufficient and sustained power for wireless sensor nodes and their associated components. Achieving this goal will significantly impact the fields of structural health monitoring, secure location surveillance and a multitude of other pertinent applications. While many energy harvesters can power these electronics with a constant energy source, most ambient sources for desired wireless sensor networks only provide intermittent energy. One method for increasing the robustness and versatility of energy harvesting systems would utilize multiple energy sources simultaneously. To achieve this, the problem of effectively combining multiple energy harvesting sources, specifically an AC and a DC source, must be explored. Multiple energy harvesting techniques will be explored for integration into a self-powered, adaptive system which stores the energy from both sources for use by a microcontroller.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Multi–source enegy harvesting schematic

Funding Agencies

  • NSF
  • Samsung