ERC Experiences Strong Student Participation in Energy-Harvesting Project for Self-Powered Sensors

Achievement date: 

The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Minnesota, has had very strong participation from REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) students on a project known as the Hydraulic Pressure Energy Harvester (HPEH).


Since its inception two years ago, the CCEFP has been able to engage seven REUs on the HPEH project, and several of these students have been working on the project for more than a year. Activities like this contribute greatly to the ERC's goal of increasing the number of undergraduate students knowledgeable in fluid power—a positive outcome from industry’s point of view as well.



There have been both paid REUs and volunteer REUs, but they all shared in contributing to the overall success of the project. A key measure of the contribution of the REU students is that every single device prototype (six generations, with 9 distinct test articles) has been designed, fabricated, and tested by these students. The REU students developed and demonstrated the first HPEH-powered wireless sensor (see figure).