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Proceedings Paper

Realizing the potential of dielectric elastomer generators
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Paper Abstract

The global demand for renewable energy is growing, and ocean waves and wind are renewable energy sources that can provide large amounts of power. A class of variable capacitor power generators called Dielectric Elastomer Generators (DEG), show considerable promise for harvesting this energy because they can be directly coupled to large broadband motions without gearing while maintaining a high energy density, have few moving parts, and are highly flexible. At the system level DEG cannot currently realize their full potential for flexibility, simplicity and low mass because they require rigid and bulky external circuitry. This is because a typical generation cycle requires high voltage charge to be supplied or drained from the DEG as it is mechanically deformed. Recently we presented the double Integrated Self-Priming Circuit (ISPC) generator that minimized external circuitry. This was done by using the inherent capacitance of DEG to store excess energy. The DEG were electrically configured to form a pair of charge pumps. When the DEG were cyclically deformed, the charge pumps produced energy and converted it to a higher charge form. In this paper we present the single ISPC generator that contains just one charge pump. The ability of the new generator to increase its voltage through the accumulation of generated energy did not compare favourably with that of the double ISPC generator. However the single ISPC generator can operate in a wider range of operating conditions and the mass of its external circuitry is 50% that of the double ISPC generator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 March 2011
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 79760B (28 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880717
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas McKay, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Benjamin O'Brien, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)
Emilio Calius, Industrial Research Ltd. (New Zealand)
Iain Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7976:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Federico Carpi, Editor(s)

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