Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensor Nodes

Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensor Nodes

Wahied G. Ali Abdelaal (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch617
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Vibrations present around most machines, home appliances, and motion of biological systems are typical examples of a wasted energy that may be harvested. This source of energy is ideal for the use of piezoelectric materials, which have the ability to convert mechanical strain energy into electrical energy and vice versa (Sodano & Inman, 2005). In general, there are three mechanisms to harvest the energy from the vibrations: electrostatic, electromagnetic and piezoelectric techniques.

  • Electrostatic energy harvesters produce energy from capacitance changes during the vibration cycle, where the harvested energy is derived from the work done against the electrostatic force between the plates.

  • Electromagnetic energy harvesters generate energy from the induced current in coils as a result of the movement of a permanent magnet.

  • Piezoelectric materials can efficiently convert mechanical strain to an electrical charge without any need to additional power (Lee, 2010; Cook-Chennault et al., 2008).

Table 1 summarizes the main comparison points between the three different techniques.

Table 1.
Vibrations harvesting techniques
Comparison PointElectrostaticElectromagneticPiezoelectric
Application sizeSuitable for MEMS applicationsSuitable for macro scale applications and it has poor performance for MEMS applicationsCan be used at different scales Macro, micro, and nano scales
Output impedanceCapacitiveResistiveCapacitive
Electrical outputHigh voltage, Low currentHigh current, low voltage
High voltage, Low current
Power densityLowMediumHigh

Key Terms in this Chapter

Energy Harvesting: The process to convert the ambient energy into electrical energy.

Green Energy: The natural energy like solar and wind energy.

Standards: Norms or requirements developed by international organization.

Piezoelectric Materials: Crystals produce an electrical charge when moved or vibrated.

Power Management: The process to control the extracted/used power.

Design Parameters: Key/selected parameters to enhance the system performance.

Vibrations: Quick moving back and forth about the equilibrium point.

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