A group of researchers from Université de Toulouse, France have developed an energy harvester that generates electricity enough to power small, portable devices for the internet of things (IoT).
Wireless interconnection of everyday objects and industrial applications known as the IoT depends on wireless sensors networks that need a low but constant supply of electrical energy. Electromagnetic energy harvesters that generate electricity directly from the environment could be used for each IoT device that needs a sustainable micro-energy source.
Batteries often need to be replaced or recharged, electromagnetic energy harvesting is one of the more promising solutions as an alternative to battery use.
An electromagnetic energy harvester consists of a vibrating plate that holds an array of micromagnets facing and coupled with a parallel, static coil. Energy is generated by the vibrating magnets and the amount of electricity depends on the design of the coil and magnet as well as the space between them.
The Université de Toulouse found that power could be optimized through a trade-off between the spacing of the magnets in the array and the number of turns in the coil. Reducing the distance between the coil and array and increasing the thickness of the magnets can amplify power.
“We are now producing harvesters using the guidelines that we have developed through this study,” said Lise-Marie Lacroix from the Université de Toulouse.
Future energy harvester of things devices are likely to be used in the aerospace, automotive and biomedical sectors.