Low-Voltage Energy Harvesting

Posted By : ES Admin
Over the past few years, the technology of energy harvesting has emerged from the laboratory to the marketplace. In practice, however, it has been difficult to efficiently capture the ambient or waste energy generated by many practical devices suited for this purpose, due to their very low voltage and power outputs.
Typical devices such as thermoelectric generators, electro-magnetic coils, single photovoltaic cells, and infrared emitters output voltages in the low hundreds of milli-volts and power outputs from micro-watts to milli-watts. Another downside is that these devices may very well operate in an environment that produces only intermittent energy as well. This combination of low power and intermittent operation makes capture and recycling the energy generated by these devices challenging, to say the least.

Most current techniques that attempt to increase the output of these energy generators require substantial compromises in implementation. The most common and somewhat successful approach is the technique of stacking multiple generating stages in series to achieve a higher output voltage. This approach tends to be expensive and bulky, and in many cases impractical. The more practical and economical solution to this problem is to employ a electronic interface specifically designed to boost the output power to a level compatible with existing energy harvesting capture devices.

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