Energy harvesters convert heat, light, motion or chemical reactions into electricity that can be increasingly used to power more electronic devices. Recent improvements in energy harvesters have resulted in cheaper, higher output versions becoming available. This is converging with new appropriate storage techniques (where storage is required), and new ultra low power electronics. One of the biggest applications will be energy harvesting powered wireless sensors - 90% of trials of wireless sensors today fail to move to roll-out because they use batteries which have a short lifetime and are a huge cost to replace every few years. Energy harvesters overcome that problem.
Energy harvesters are already being used in car parking lots and bridges to power signs and other "road furniture", providing power in remote areas easily. Consumer electronics companies such as Nokia are involved as they seek to utilize the motion of cellphone users by converting that movement into energy to recharge batteries, as are laptop makers. Energy harvesting will have dramatic benefits for those without access to grid electricity - from wind up radios that exist today to solar and motion powered laptops. The transport industry alone has many needs - needs for lighter weight vehicles to conserve fuel (i.e. reduce cabling), less complex circuitry etc. Many are exploring energy harvesting powered sensors for windscreen wipers to parking indicators on cars. The French national railway system - SNCF - seeks to use the vibration that trains experience to power wireless sensors, for example. In the built environment miles of cabling is being saved per building as companies such as EnOcean apply wireless switches for lighting controls that are powered wholly by the action of pressing the switch.
All these topics will be brought together at the World's largest event on the topic, hosted by IDTechEx, and held in Munich on 26-27 May. The event Energy Harvesting & Storage Europe and Wireless Sensor Networks & RTLS 2010 features speakers including SNCF and the huge General Electric and consumer electronics company Philips. Many other end users will present on their needs and experiences - forming that vital reality check - and the second day of the event will be focussed on all the technologies. For full details, see here. Register by 5th February to save a huge 40%.
IDTechEx is currently recruiting media partners for this event and others - please contact Cara Van Heest at c.vanheest@IDTechEx.com to discuss a partnership.
For more read : Energy Harvesting and Storage for Electronic Devices 2009-2019