A survey of energy harvesting sources for embedded systems

Sravanthi Chalasani and James M. Conrad, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

May 11, 2014

Sravanthi Chalasani and James M. Conrad, University of North Carolina at CharlotteMay 11, 2014

With the wide advancements in the field of wireless sensor networks, some applications require the sensor nodes to have a long lifetime. Using conventional batteries is not always advantageous since they require human intervention to replace them.

Hence, acquiring the electrical power needed to operate these devices is a major concern. An alternative type of energy source to conventional batteries must be considered.

The electrical energy required to run these devices can be obtained by tapping the thermal, light, or mechanical energies available in the ambient environment. This process helps in providing unlimited energy for the lifespan of the electronic device.

Therefore, the process of extracting energy from the ambient environment and converting it into consumable electrical energy is known as energy harvesting or power scavenging. The forms of typical ambient energies are sunlight, mechanical energy, thermal energy, and RF energy.

The energy harvesting sources can be used to increase the lifetime and capability of the devices by either replacing or augmenting the battery usage. The devices powered by energy harvesters can be used to provide vital information on operational and structural circumstances by placing them in inaccessible locations.

This paper serves as a survey for identifying the sources of energy harvesting based on various technical papers available in the public domain.

To read this external content in full, download the complete paper from the author's online archives at the University of North Carolina.

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