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Proceedings Paper

Thermoelectric energy harvesting as a wireless sensor node power source
Author(s): C. Knight; J. Davidson
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Paper Abstract

Size and power requirements of wireless sensor nodes are gradually decreasing and this has allowed data collection across a range of spatial and temporal ranges. These nodes have power requirements that often necessitate batteries as an energy source. As the power requirements decrease for these sensors, alternative energy sources become more attractive. One such technology is thermal energy harvesting. Thermal energy harvesting requires a differential temperature between a heat source and a cool sink. As heat energy flows from source to the sink, energy can be harvested and utilized to power sensor nodes. By exploiting the temperature difference between a sun-warmed plate and a heat sink immersed in water, electrical energy can be harvested. The proposed concept utilizes a thermoelectric device to convert solar energy into electrical power. Initial experiments were carried out at the CSIRO Energy Centre for a variety of winter time intervals in 2009, with peak power outputs in the order of 50mW. Results indicate such a system could power a wireless sensor node continuously at ocean, lake and river water interfaces. We are presently in the process of evaluating the concept by powering a CSIRO FleckTM wireless node to transmit water temperature and battery voltage data.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 April 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7643, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010, 76431E (9 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.847765
Show Author Affiliations
C. Knight, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
J. Davidson, James Cook Univ. (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7643:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010
Mehrdad N. Ghasemi-Nejhad, Editor(s)

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