Energy Harvesting: Small source – Big impact

We use renewable energy sources from the environment to supply small electronic consumers.

Energy Harvesting

The technology Energy Harvesting

In Energy Harvesting, we develop and investigate technologies and systems for using energy from the environment to power small electronic consumers.

Energy Harvesting eliminates the need for cables to power or recharge batteries in mobile devices. Vibrations on equipment, machinery or structures or temperature differences between pipes, radiators or valves and the environment can be used to generate electrical energy. This electrical energy can be used directly to power small electronic systems.

How does Energy Harvesting work?

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Our developer explains how Energy Harvesting works.

Learn more about our Energy Harvesting solutions from our developer, such as the BlueTEG, a thermoelectrically powered wireless sensor, or a vibration transducer that uses vibration and mechanical energy. The ENTRAS modular, energy self-sufficient tracking system uses these energy harvesting solutions to enable a consistent and energy-efficient localization of goods, people and animals. The battery can be recharged during operation and costly battery changes are no longer necessary.

Types of energy production

There are different ways to gain electrical energy from the environment:

 

Thermoelectric power supply

In thermoelectric energy generation, the temperature difference between a warm or cold object and its environment is used to generate electrical energy. This uses the so-called Seebeck effect.

 

Mechanical power supply

Mechanical motion, pressure or vibration can be converted into electrical voltages with piezoelectric or inductive generators. For example, existing vibrations on machines or motors can be used to supply small electronic devices with energy.

Energy production by photovoltaic

Photovoltaics are the direct conversion of sunlight into electrical energy with solar cells. In addition to the energy supply of households with solar systems, even small sensors can be supplied with solar energy. The existing light is thus used to gain electrical energy for small consumers.

Our service portfolio

We currently offer the following services for the realization of energy supplies:

  • Technical advice
  • Feasibility and technology studies
  • Evaluation and characterization of components and systems
  • Research and development projects
  • Prototypes of power management circuits and energy harvesting systems
  • Customization and licensing of available components and modules

Our cooperation projects in the subject Energy Harvesting

microMole

The aim of the project is an autonomous control system that recognizes very low levels of certain chemical substances in wastewater with maximum sensitivity and selectivity.

A central requirement of an self-sufficient sensor system is an extremely low energy consumption. Fraunhofer IIS has developed an optimized thermoelectric energy harvester for the energy supply of this sensor system.

EnSO

The EU project Energy for Smart Objects (EnSO) provides novel micro-energy sources for the Internet of Things. It targets a wide range of innovative electronic objects that will be autonomous, intelligent, connected and secure.

To achieve this goal, the project covers a wide range of unique developments: state-of-the-art microbatteries, various generations of Energy Harvesting systems, battery and power management electronics, and intelligent integration of these components to achieve an adequate form factor.

EnABLES

In the EU project EnABLES (European Infrastructure Powering the IoT), a funding project within the framework of the »Horizon 2020« program, ten renowned European research institutes are cooperating – including Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer IMS, IMEC, CEA and KIT under the direction of the Tyndall National Institute. The institutes and universities work in the field of sustainable micro-energy solutions for IoT applications. EnABLES' vision is to eliminate the need for a battery change by developing Energy Harvesting solutions or finding ways to reduce device power consumption.

Handbook of Energy Harvesting power supplies and applications

Dr. Peter Spies, Markus Pollak und Dr. Loreto Mateu; ISBN-13: 978-9814241861
Verlag: Pan Stanford Publishing Pte Ltd

«This is an ideal book for those wanting to learn more about wireless energy harvesting in general. Its main focus is on power supply design for energy harvesting applications of wireless sensors. It contains a wealth of information that can be used to design energy harvesting circuits and to create ideas for new circuit topologies.» – IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine