Energy harvesters are typically used to supply electricity to remotely located systems from ambient energy sources.
For example, in a thermal energy harvester heat energy is extracted from ambient thermal sources using thermoelectric generators and micro power electronic converters, whereas a vibration energy harvester converts vibration energy using cantilevers, piezo electric converters and specialised power electronic circuits. Some energy harvesters operate at higher powers and are used for waste heat recovery, e.g. Thermo Acoustic engines
Key challenges exist in the following areas:
- Circuits to efficiently convert piezo electric output power to sensible voltages
- Circuits to efficiently work with thermoelectric generators
- Linear alternators for use with Thermo Acoustic engines
- High efficiency Power Electronic circuits for such alternators
- Maximum power point tracking techniques for all these systems
- Complex conjugate circuits for piezo electric (vibration) harvesters
- Novel linear alternator design
- Power electronic circuit design
- Remote powering of instrumentation
- Solar energy conversion
- Renewable energy generation
- Waste heat recovery
- “Experimental validation of a novel smart electromechanical tuned mass damper beam device”, P. Bonello, S. Rafique, R. Shuttleworth, Journal of Sound and Vibration (2013).
- “Discrete, matched-load, step-up converter for 60-400mV Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting source”, R. Shuttleworth, K. Simpson, IET Electronic Letters, Vol. 49, Issue 11, 23 May 2013.
- “A theoretical study of a smart electromechanical tuned mass damper beam device”, P. Bonello, S. Rafique, R. Shuttleworth, Smart Materials and Structures, 2012.