Cars Piezoelectric Buzzer. Image obtained with thanks from Gophi on the English Wikipedia.

Published on August 31st, 2011 | by Nicholas Brown

1

Batteries that Charge Themselves with Mechanical Energy

August 31st, 2011 by  

Piezoelectric Buzzer. Image obtained with thanks from Gophi on the English Wikipedia. Click image to view larger version of it.

MicroGen Systems has been working on electricity-generating chips designed to power wireless sensors like those used to monitor tire pressure and environmental conditions.

These chips convert the mechanical energy of vibrations into electricity, which is then used to charge a small battery, which in turn powers the sensors.

If the chips are capable of generating adequate electrical energy, then they could mostly (or maybe even completely) eliminate the need to replace the batteries.

The core of MicroGen’s chips is a 1 cm2 array of silicon cantilevers that oscillate when the chip is jostled. At the base of the cantilevers is a bit of piezoelectric material: when it’s strained by vibrations, it produces a voltage that can be used to generate electrical current. Voltage is what causes current to flow.

The array of cantilevers is mounted on top of a postage-stamp-sized, thin-film battery that it charges. The current passes from the piezoelectric array through an electrical device that converts the current to an appropriate DC current that is suitable for charging the battery. When the chip is shaken by the vibrations of a rotating tire, for example, it can produce about 200 microwatts of power.

An efficient vibration-energy-harvesting device has the potential to be very beneficial because there are so many vibrating devices, such as mechanical machines, in general, including automobiles, generators, engines in general, and fans, as well as humans walking, arm and hand movements, and much more.

David Culler, chair of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley said: “If you can get it down to a small size, 200 microwatts is potentially quite useful.”

Robert Andosca, the founder and president of MicroGen Systems, said that what sets this technology apart from other piezoelectric generators is the fact that it is made of a non-toxic material known as PZT.

200 microwatts of power might not be much, but if it is small enough, it could be very beneficial to tiny sensors that need to be integrated into small places.

h/t Technology Review

 

 
 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
 
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

 

Tags: , ,


About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.



Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Energy Storage USA, June 15–16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    American Renewable Energy Day Summit Storage USA, June 20-24, Snowmass, Colorado (US)
    The American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI) brings together thought leaders and experts to foster climate change solutions.

    InterSolar North America, July 12–14, San Francisco, California (US)
    The most-attended solar event in the US. We’ll be there– will you?

    EES North America, July 12–14, San Francisco, California (US)
    International exhibition for batteries and storage, co-located with InterSolar.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 FAQ … Answered!

    Tesla Model 3 side
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

    cost-of-solar-down
  • Search the IM Network


Shares