ERC Researchers Project New Energy-Harvester Benchmarks for Power Generation, Density, and Viability

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers affiliated with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Minnesota, have designed and tested a wide range of prototype devices, representing several distinct generations of designs, to accomplish energy harvesting for self-powered sensors.

 

Impact/benefits: 

Energy-harvesting technology holds promise of integration with various sensors (e.g., for health monitoring), thereby eliminating the need for batteries or wires providing power to individual sensors. The end result would be reduced maintenance contacts and greatly diminished potential points of failure. This project has been successful in pushing research and development such that devices powered by a Hydraulic Pressure-Ripple Energy Harvester (HPEH) could be viable across a broad range of power demands, available energy densities, form factors, static pressures, and target applications.

 

Explanation/Background: 

The HPEH project has benefited greatly from contributions of students in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. These students designed and tested every one of nine prototype devices, representing six distinct generations of designs (see figure). One of many technical accomplishments by the students was to demonstrate the first HPEH-powered wireless temperature sensor.