Last edited 15 Oct 2015

Vibration energy harvesters

Vibration Energy Harvesters (VEHs) are an innovative technology that can be used to convert ambient vibration into electrical energy in order to power sensors and wireless communications. Energy can be harvested from a wide variety of vibration frequencies.

This can be useful in places where there is no access to hard-wired power or it may be difficult to replace batteries, perhaps because of restricted access for safety reasons such as:

  • Self-powered wireless sensor nodes (WSNs) on bridges, flyovers, and tunnels.
  • Condition monitoring of rotating equipment, such as pumps used in water works.
  • Measuring vibration or acceleration of railway tracks.

Wireless, self-powered sensors can be installed on such structures to predict system failure, improving reliability and safety.

Parametric excitation VEH is a new development in this field that can convert thirty times more mechanical energy into electrical energy compared to standard VEH technologies. This means that the size and weight of the VEH unit can be significantly lower. Parametric Excitation VEH has been developed by the Centre for Smart Infrastructure at the University of Cambridge.

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