Energy Harvesting Systems

Energy harvesting systems for sensor networks  

Aim

Scalable thermal energy harvesting systems for energetically self-sufficient sensor networks.  

Contact

Dr. Robert Kun (thermoelectric materials)
Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Behrmann (energy management in sensor networks)
Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Rolf Stock (thin film techniques)

Summary

Distributed sensor networks require energy to process and communicate information. With increasing sensor density, the concept of a decentralised energy supply and thus energy harvesting gain interest. This principle must form part of an application-oriented, holistic system layout including energy converter, storage devices and consumers. In the course of the project, such energy supply systems are developed as elements of a toolbox allowing easy adaptation of established basic principles to concrete application. Energy harvesting is based on the thermoelectric or Seebeck effect. Efficiency of thermogenerators will be enhanced by adaptation of materials and materials combinations as well as structuring approaches. Colloid chemical synthesis of thermoelectric nanoparticles, the formulation of associated nanosuspensions as inks for printing processes and the electrical and thermal characterisation of the materials are major concerns of the project. Use of maskless printing processes such as the Aerosol Jet® printing process to realise thermogenerators will be investigated in view of the benefits in terms of flexibility these processes offer.

Keywords

thermoelectrics, energy harvesting, waste heat, autonomous sensor networks, wireless sensor networks, energy management