A Feasibility Study in Energy Harvesting from Piezoelectric Keyboards

A Feasibility Study in Energy Harvesting from Piezoelectric Keyboards

Tom Page (Loughborough Design School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/IJEOE.2017040101
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The aim of the study was to investigate as to whether piezoelectric energy harvesting could be a viable contributor to a source of renewable energy for the future. Here, a keyboard usage study was conducted using a data gathering computer program called WhatPulse in which participants and their keyboards were monitored for one week. The results were used in conjunction with power output figures from work done by Wacharasindhu and Kwon (2008) who prototyped a piezoelectric keyboard and found it was capable of producing 650 µJ of energy per keystroke. The results from this study suggest piezoelectric keyboards could not be used to create self-sustaining systems for any of the devices proposed. Further uses for the stored energy have been suggested but the question to the viability of piezoelectric keyboards as a useful energy source looks discouraging. Other applications for the technology could be explored to enhance power output and utilise larger amounts of vibrational energy.
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The Need For A New Energy Source

We have become reliant on the consumption of energy. In 2012 alone, it is understood humans used 37.7x1010GJ (International Energy Agency, 2014) (Figure 1). Currently, 81.7% of the total energy consumption is obtained from fossil fuels, the main types being coal, oil and natural gas (Figure 2).

Figure 1.

World energy consumption (source: International Energy Agency, 2014)

Figure 2.

Energy supply by fuel type (source: International Energy Agency, 2014)


Our rate of consumption cannot be sustained as relying on fossil fuels are non-renewable and our reserves are rapidly declining (Höök, & Tang, 2013). Further to this, our reliance on them is negatively contributing towards global climate change due to their release of carbon dioxide when being burned (Vernon, Thompson, & Cornell, 2011). Statistics released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) demonstrate how human energy consumption continues to increase, which could become problematic in the current climate according to Shafiee and Topal (2009) who predicted all fossil fuels will run out by 2112.

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