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Posted on May 7, 2009 by  & 

Energy harvesting - a weird business

There are now an enormous number of universities and research centers developing energy harvesting, meaning the capability to make small electronic devices self sufficient, often for decades. Their work does not necessarily reflect the market potential, however. Take electrodynamics, from the humble bicycle dynamo, self winding electronic watch and small wind turbine to harvesting the energy of the human heart to obviate the need for cutting people open to change their batteries. Universities do not study that option much, because, as one researcher recently put it to us, "If you ask for a grant to do a variant on a 19th century Faraday motor they do not get excited." The industry needs to grow up and take far more careful note of what is really needed and what will be practicable when. There needs to be much more user pull and communication between potential users and suppliers. That is the theme of the unique conference Energy Harvesting and Storage in Cambridge UK June 3-4.
Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of analyst IDTechEx, organiser of the conference, says, "In addition to the existing line up of huge organisations on the first day that will say what they are looking for and give their experience so far, we can now announce another input. Oliver Schneider of the architect and design company The Facility will present on how it offers energy harvesting in building designs. Its latest success lies in being asked by the Olympic Delivery Authority to showcase its vibration harvesting technology at a train station serving the planned Olympic Park in the UK. He says, "I shall cover turning negatives into useful positives, the harvesting of footfall, harvesting environmental vibrations and additional benefits and markets."
For more information on the topic please contact the author Dr. Peter Harrop at or to find out more about the Energy Harvesting and Storage Europe 2009 conference please contact the Event Manager Mrs. Corinne Jennings at

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Posted on: May 7, 2009

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