Energy harvesting (power harvesting or energy scavenging) is the process by which energy is derived from external (alternate) energy sources (e.g., solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy), captured and stored into usable electrical energy. Frequently, the term “Energy harvesting” is applied when speaking about small, wireless autonomous devices, like those used in wearable electronics and wireless sensor networks.

When to go for Energy Harvesting

Generating electricity for running large powered appliances is impractical. Energy harvesters currently do not produce sufficient energy to perform mechanical work, but instead provide very small amount of power for powering low-energy electronics. Energy harvesting is an alternate energy source usually for small portable electronics devices. Energy harvesting is ideal for substituting for batteries that are impractical, costly, or dangerous to replace.

Energy Harvesting Methods

  • Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting that generate electricity from mechanical force/stress
  • Kinetic Energy Harvesting that generates electricity with movement of anything
  • Thermoelectric generators that harvests thermal energy or Heat/Temperature
  • Biomechanical Energy Harvesting that generates electricity by human body movements
  • Solar Energy Harvesting that generates electricity from Light
  • Wind Energy Harvesting that generates electricity with Air-flow
  • Tidal Energy Harvesting from Ocean tides
  • Wave Energy Harvesting from offshore waves on the river/ocean
  • Wireless RF Energy Harvesting that harvests energy from radio waves such as GSM/CDMA cell phone wireless networks and from Satellite radio signals
  • Pyroelectric Energy Harvesting that generates electricity with change in temperatures of air/water/material
  • Electrostatic (capacitive) Energy Harvesting based on the changing capacitance of vibration-dependent varactors
  • Electromagnetic Energy Harvesting that harvests energy from electromagnetic field
  • Magnetic Energy Harvesting that harvests energy from magnetic field
  • Blood Sugar Energy Harvesting by Biofuelcells and Biosensors
  • Tree Metabolic Energy Harvesting, bio-energy harvesting from trees alive
  • Elastic Energy Harvesting with Electroactive polymers that have a large strain and elastic energy density
  • Sound Energy Harvesting that harvests energy from acoustic sound waves
  • Noise Energy Harvesting that harvest energy from unwanted noise signals in electronic data transmission