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Proceedings Paper

Optimized energy harvesting from mechanical vibrations through piezoelectric actuators, based on a synchronized switching technique
Author(s): P. Tsampas; G. Roditis; V. Papadimitriou; P. Chatzakos; Tat-Hean Gan
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Paper Abstract

Increasing demand in mobile, autonomous devices has made energy harvesting a particular point of interest. Systems that can be powered up by a few hundreds of microwatts could feature their own energy extraction module. Energy can be harvested from the environment close to the device. Particularly, the ambient mechanical vibrations conversion via piezoelectric transducers is one of the most investigated fields for energy harvesting. A technique for optimized energy harvesting using piezoelectric actuators called “Synchronized Switching Harvesting” is explored. Comparing to a typical full bridge rectifier, the proposed harvesting technique can highly improve harvesting efficiency, even in a significantly extended frequency window around the piezoelectric actuator’s resonance. In this paper, the concept of design, theoretical analysis, modeling, implementation and experimental results using CEDRAT's APA 400M-MD piezoelectric actuator are presented in detail. Moreover, we suggest design guidelines for optimum selection of the storage unit in direct relation to the characteristics of the random vibrations. From a practical aspect, the harvesting unit is based on dedicated electronics that continuously sense the charge level of the actuator’s piezoelectric element. When the charge is sensed, to come to a maximum, it is directed to speedily flow into a storage unit. Special care is taken so that electronics operate at low voltages consuming a very small amount of the energy stored. The final prototype developed includes the harvesting circuit implemented with miniaturized, low cost and low consumption electronics and a storage unit consisting of a super capacitors array, forming a truly self-powered system drawing energy from ambient random vibrations of a wide range of characteristics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2013
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8763, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VI, 87631G (17 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2017255
Show Author Affiliations
P. Tsampas, Innora S.A. (Greece)
G. Roditis, Innora S.A. (Greece)
V. Papadimitriou, Innora S.A. (Greece)
P. Chatzakos, Innora S.A. (Greece)
Tat-Hean Gan, TWI Technology Ctr., Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8763:
Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VI
Ulrich Schmid; José Luis Sánchez de Rojas Aldavero; Monika Leester-Schaedel, Editor(s)

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