New Energy Harvester To Power IoT
The Internet of Things relies on wireless sensor networks that require a small but constant supply of electrical energy. Electromagnetic energy harvesters can provide this by generating electricity from the environment.
An international team of researchers has used a mathematical technique involving finite element simulations to optimize the design of such an energy harvester for efficient power generation.
The work is published in the journal EPJ Special Topics.
The Internet of Things consists of a very large number of small, portable devices, each of which requires its own sustainable source of micro-energy. Batteries are not suitable for this purpose, as they need to be replaced or recharged frequently.
Among the various technologies being considered instead, electromagnetic energy harvesting has shown the most promise.
An electromagnetic energy harvester consists of a vibrating plate with a series of micromagnets on it, facing and coupled to a parallel static coil. The vibrating magnets generate electrical energy, and the amount of electricity that can enter a circuit depends on the design of the magnet and coil and the distance between them.
The team studied a system using NdFeB-type magnets. The NdFeB magnet is made of an alloy of the rare earth metal neodymium along with boron and iron.
Importantly, a trade-off between the distance between the magnets and the number of coils in the array could optimize performance; reducing the distance between the array and the coil and increasing the thickness of the magnets could also increase performance, the research team said.
Harvesters will be manufactured using the guidelines developed as part of the study, the study's principal investigator explained. The devices should prove useful in automotive, aerospace, biomedical and other industries that increasingly rely on the Internet of Things.
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