Providing power is a critical consideration in developing any type of remote communications or wireless sensor network.
Implementing an energy harvesting design, along with an energy storage element, can extend the workable life of a remote node to more than 20 years. MicroGen Systems has developed a Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) based Piezoelectric Vibrational Energy Harvester (PZEH) called “BOLT“.
These devices convert mechanical vibration to electrical energy (power), and the energy can be stored for later use using energy harvesting (EH) boards with advanced thin-film batteries or ultra-capacitors and power management electronics.
The video below demonstrates the BOLT energy harvester in operation using a speaker as the vibration source. This simple application blinks an LED to show that power is being generated. Additionally, a Texas Instruments eZ430 wireless temperature sensor is attached to, and powered by, the BOLT energy harvester.
In addition to wireless sensor networks and remote communications, energy harvesting through vibrations and motions is useful in applications such as:
- Industrial Automation – process automation and equipment monitoring
- Smart Energy / Smart Grid – reducing energy usage in computer server rooms
- Smart Transportation – vibration sensors on planes and trains
- Automotive – tire pressure monitoring systems
- Railway Transportation – track measurement and train detection
- Smart Infrastructure – monitoring the structural integrity of bridges and supports
- Homeland Security – monitor and identify vehicle types on roadways
- Smart Asset Tracking
- Agriculture – livestock management
- Security / Defense – anti-tamper electronics
The BOLT micro-power generators are “green”, renewable energy products. It’s capable of producing 100 micro-watts of power with a 5V DC output.
These meet, or exceed, all manufacturing compliance standards such as RoHS (Restrictions on Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment).
Coming soon from MicroGen is their next generation PZEH product line called the “VIBE” (Vibration Induced Broadband Excitation), which can harvest energy across multiple vibration axis.
For more information, data sheets and pricing, please visit the MicroGen home page and the links below.
Bolt Product Page
Bolt Product Brief
(Image Credit – MicroGen )
(Video Credit – MicroGen)
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