MicroGen Systems has been awarded a $300,000 contract for its "Piezoelectric Vibrational Energy Harvester" project by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The project will focus on developing a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS)-based energy harvester. Devices using MEMS technology require only tiny amounts of energy and scientists are looking for ways to harvest that energy from the environment.
"The wireless sensor network (WSN) market is growing quickly yet is limited by existing short lifetime batteries. Providing a green, virtually infinite alternative power source to traditional energy sources will significantly expand applications for WSNs and other technologies," said Robert Andosca, MicroGen's President and CEO. WSN applications include industrial and building monitoring, such as equipment preventive maintenance and lighting control; transportation systems monitoring, such as bridge integrity; automobiles, such as airbag accelerometers, tire-pressure monitoring systems and much more.
In respect of tyre monitoring systems, the 2007 Federal Tread Act states that all new vehicles of less than 10,000 lbs must have tire-pressure measurement system (TPMS) units on all tires. Presently TPMSs are battery-powered resulting in about 64 million batteries being sent to U.S. landfills each year. A green power source like MicroGen's product can dramatically reduce the need for these batteries.
Infotonics Technology Centre (ITC) is working with MicroGen in turning their concept into a working prototype, which will help them raise capital needed to bring this technology to market. "The MEMS-based energy harvester has myriad application possibilities, and MicroGen, partnered with ITC, will be at the forefront in serving emerging markets. We expect MicroGen will have a fully functional prototype by the end of the first quarter, 2009," said ITC CEO Paul Tolley.
Top Image: tire pressure monitoring system. (Source: CDX eTextbook)
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