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Proceedings Paper

Development of MEMS based pyroelectric thermal energy harvesters
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Paper Abstract

The efficient conversion of waste thermal energy into electrical energy is of considerable interest due to the huge sources of low-grade thermal energy available in technologically advanced societies. Our group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing a new type of high efficiency thermal waste heat energy converter that can be used to actively cool electronic devices, concentrated photovoltaic solar cells, computers and large waste heat producing systems, while generating electricity that can be used to power remote monitoring sensor systems, or recycled to provide electrical power. The energy harvester is a temperature cycled pyroelectric thermal-to-electrical energy harvester that can be used to generate electrical energy from thermal waste streams with temperature gradients of only a few degrees. The approach uses a resonantly driven pyroelectric capacitive bimorph cantilever structure that potentially has energy conversion efficiencies several times those of any previously demonstrated pyroelectric or thermoelectric thermal energy harvesters. The goals of this effort are to demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating high conversion efficiency MEMS based pyroelectric energy converters that can be fabricated into scalable arrays using well known microscale fabrication techniques and materials. These fabrication efforts are supported by detailed modeling studies of the pyroelectric energy converter structures to demonstrate the energy conversion efficiencies and electrical energy generation capabilities of these energy converters. This paper reports on the modeling, fabrication and testing of test structures and single element devices that demonstrate the potential of this technology for the development of high efficiency thermal-to-electrical energy harvesters.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8035, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications II, 80350V (17 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.882125
Show Author Affiliations
Scott R. Hunter, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Nickolay V. Lavrik, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Thirumalesh Bannuru, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Salwa Mostafa, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville (United States)
Slo Rajic, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Panos G.. Datskos, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8035:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications II
Nibir K. Dhar; Priyalal S. Wijewarnasuriya; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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