Mechanical Energy Harvesting and Storage Device

Description:

An apparatus and method for harvesting mechanical energy, such as environmental vibrations, and both converting and storing said energy into direct current (DC) electricity.

 

Background:

 

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.

 

Technology Overview:

 

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.

 

Advantages:

 

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.

 

Applications:

 

•       IoT devices

•       Medical devices

 

Intellectual Property Summary:

US Provisional Patent Application 63/011,845 filed April 17, 2020.

 

Stage of Development: Prototype.

 

Licensing Status: Available for licensing or collaboration.

 

Patent Information:
Category(s):
University at Buffalo
For Information, Contact:
Timothy Dee
Associate Director
University at Buffalo
716-645-8139
tpdee@buffalo.edu
Inventors:
Jun Liu
Thomas Thundat
Kun-Hung Tsai
Keywords:
Technologies
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