energy harvesting

2014 Energy Harvesting to rise

Energy Harvesters markets, which were at $131.4 million in 2012, are projected to increase to $4.2 billion in 2019.

Energy Harvesting is the process of capturing minute amounts of energy from one or more of naturally-occurring energy sources, accumulating them and storing them for later use. Energy-harvesting devices efficiently and effectively capture, accumulate, store, condition and manage this energy and supply it in a form that can be used to perform a helpful task.

This growth is anticipated to be based on demand for micro power generation that can be used to charge thin film batteries and on global demand for sensors and wireless sensor networks that permit control of systems.

According to ResearchMoz, advanced storage devices are emerging simultaneously:

Storage devices can leverage the power captured by energy harvesting devices while energy storage technologies of super-capacitors and thin-film batteries have become cost-effective.

Energy harvesting devices have attained workable levels of efficiency and there are significant cost reductions. Existing energy harvesting and storage applications include vibration-based wireless train measuring systems, wireless sensors distributed city wide to implement smart cities, oil field monitoring systems, windup laptops for use in remote regions, and wireless light switches for use in smart buildings. Wireless sensors are self-powering. They can be used to alert and monitor a range of environments and incidents, pollution and forest fires, robberies in a city, temperature in a building, and movement around a border fence.

Energy harvesting technologies include electrodynamics, photovoltaics, piezoelectrics, and thermovoltaics. Photovoltaic systems for solar energy are evolving at a slower pace. More in detail, the main sources are:

  • Mechanical Energy – from sources such as vibration, mechanical stress and strain
  • Thermal Energy – waste energy from furnaces, heaters, and friction sources
  • Light Energy – captured from sunlight or room light via photo sensors, photo diodes, or solar panels
  • Electromagnetic Energy – from inductors, coils and transformers
  • Natural Energy – from the environment such as wind, water flow, ocean currents, and solar
  • Human Body – a combination of mechanical and thermal energy naturally generated from bio-organisms or through actions such as walking and sitting
  • Other Energy – from chemical and biological sources

Energy harvesters have become more feasible as the technology evolves. Since electronics tends to rely heavily on batteries, energy harvesting technology will power an increasing number of consumer and industrial products that are untethered or need to become disconnected from electrical outlets.

The energy harvesting applications are almost infinite, here a fancy example from the Disney Research:
Disney Research: energy harvesting from paper

At some point energy harvester markets will shift from simple growth to rapid growth measured as a penetration analysis. This will happen as markets move beyond the early adopter stage. Eventually energy harvesters will be used as fuel to power batteries for electronic devices and smart phones. From there, it will grow to more complex and energy demanding systems.

On April 1st, Berlin will host the Energy Harvesting & Storage 2014 meeting. This could be a good place for newcomers, investors and energy expert, to better understand the perspectives of the energy harvesting market.

This meeting will come just a few days after the Energy Storage International Conference that will be held in Dūsseldorf, 25-27 March. Storage systems, that are involved in the energy harvesting technology, deal with a broader set of power generation systems and will represent another focus of the energy market.

Sources:
energyharvesting.net
researchmoz.us
energy storage
disney research