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Proceedings Paper

Energy harvesting of radio frequency and vibration energy to enable wireless sensor monitoring of civil infrastructure
Author(s): Tzeno Galchev; James McCullagh; Rebecca L. Peterson; Khalil Najafi; Amir Mortazawi
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Paper Abstract

To power distributed wireless sensor networks on bridges, traditional power cables or battery replacement are excessively expensive or infeasible. This project develops two power harvesting technologies. First, a novel parametric frequency-increased generator (PFIG) is developed. The fabricated PFIG harvests the non-periodic and unprecedentedly low frequency (DC to 30 Hz) and low acceleration (0.55-9.8 m/s2) mechanical energy available on bridges with an average power > 2 μW. Prototype power conversion and storage electronics were designed and the harvester system was used to charge a capacitor from arbitrary bridge-like vibrations. Second, an RF scavenger operating at medium and shortwave frequencies has been designed and tested. Power scavenging at MHz frequencies allows for lower antenna directivities, reducing sensitivity to antenna positioning. Furthermore, ambient RF signals at these frequencies have higher power levels away from cities and residential areas compared to the UHF and SHF bands utilized for cellular communication systems. An RF power scavenger operating at 1 MHz along with power management and storage circuitry has been demonstrated. It powers a LED at a distance of 10 km from AM radio stations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2011
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7983, Nondestructive Characterization for Composite Materials, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, and Homeland Security 2011, 798314 (18 April 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880174
Show Author Affiliations
Tzeno Galchev, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
James McCullagh, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Rebecca L. Peterson, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Khalil Najafi, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Amir Mortazawi, Univ. of Michigan (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7983:
Nondestructive Characterization for Composite Materials, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, and Homeland Security 2011
H. Felix Wu, Editor(s)

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