Mechanical Energy Harvesting and Storage Device
An apparatus and method for harvesting mechanical energy, such as environmental vibrations, and both converting and storing said energy into direct current (DC) electricity.
The growing demand for powering wireless sensor networks, wearable devices and the like has led to increased interest in mechanical energy harvesting and storage systems. However, the high impedance of insulating material systems seen with prior piezo- and tribo-electricity approaches limit their ability to generate sufficient current density necessary for powering electronic devices, despite their ability to obtain high voltage.
The apparatus described here provides a frictional interface wherein triboelectric charges are harvested by quantum mechanical tunneling. The mechanical energy harvested by the apparatus can be of any form (e.g. human body motion, heartbeat, tidal wave, wind, vehicle vibration, etc.). Under open-circuit conditions, the as-generated charge can be accumulated and stored within the system itself. Upon connection to an electrical load, the generated and/or stored charge can be released in the form of DC output.
Unlike prior and competing approaches, the apparatus described here possesses the ability to harvest and store energy in a single device. Further, the apparatus enables continuous and sustained energy generation at current densities (10-100 A/m2) high enough to power electronic devices.
- IoT devices
- Medical devices
US Provisional Patent Application 63/011,845 filed April 17, 2020.
Available for licensing or collaboration.