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Project14 | What Type of Energy Harvesting Do You Find Most Interesting?

Energy Harvesting

Enter Your Project for a chance to win an Energy Harvesting Grand Prize for Inspiring the World to Reuse Wasted Energy!

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Energy Harvesting involves capturing a small amount of "wasted energy" from naturally-occurring energy sources, accumulating them, and storing it in something like an associated energy source such as rechargeable batteries, super capacitors, or ceramic capacitors.  In the theme doc for this month's competition, Project14 | Energy Harvesting: Build Projects that Scavenge Energy from Wasted Energy Sources! ,  some energy harvesting techniques we were mentioned in both the doc and the discussion that followed.  In order to excite your interest in doing projects around energy harvesting we decided to set up a poll on various types or energy harvesting techniques to see what you find the most interesting.



Energy harvesting, sometimes called energy scavenging, involves capturing small amounts of energy that would otherwise be lost. The idea for this competition is to build projects that involve capturing energy from ambient sources (such solar, wind, vibration, heat, motion, sound) and storing it in an associated storage such as rechargeable batteries, super capacitors, ceramic capacitors, and polymer capacitors.  Because this is a very promising eco-friendly technology, that is yet to meet its potential, we've added an Energy Development Platform Kit as the Grand Prize for the project that inspires the world (the most) to reuse wasted energy!  The kit includes four linear voltage converters that are optimized for different energy sources such as solar, electromagnetic, piezo electric, or thermal energy converters. There's also the usual $100 shopping cart for the 3 first winners.  Energy harvesting can be used as an alternative or a supplement to batteries for low-power, lower voltage applications such as a wireless sensor node, where it may be used as a secondary energy source to recharge a battery. It is well suited for applications that require back-up battery, especially in remote or locations that are difficult to reach.  The energy that is typically captured is small so its ideal for any low voltage, low-power project such as a wearable or portable device. The goal of energy harvesting developers is to create self-sustaining and/or improve the efficiency of non-sustainable systems.

Your Prizes


One Grand Prize Winner Wins an Energy Harvesting to Go KitThree First Place Winners Win a $100 Shopping Cart
  • One Grand Prize Winner Wins an Energy Harvesting to Go Kit!
  • 3 First Place Winners Win a $100 Shopping Cart!
Buy NowBuy Now
IC-744885IC-744885 is a development platform for Energy Harvesting Solution To Go which provides very easy access to energy harvesting technologies. The transfer of this solution to the development of a batteryless product is made easy by the right selection of components, schematics and software examples. The two basic parts of the kits are an energy harvesting board and the Giant Gecko starter kit. There are four linear voltage converters on the multi source energy harvesting board. They are optimized for different energy sources like for solar, electromagnetic, piezo electric or thermal energy converters. The energy harvesting board provides an integrated solar cell and a thermo generator for immediate evaluation.
  • EFM32 Giant Gecko starter kit provides evaluation of energy friendly EFM32 Gecko family MCU
  • On board EFM32GG990F1024 with ARM Cortex M3
  • Debugging with a SEGGER J-Link debugger
  • Energy debugging with an integrated Advanced Energy Monitoring (AEM) with voltage monitoring
  • 4 harvesters for different source types
  • On board solar cell and thermo electric generator  
  • Connectors for optional external generators
Poll Results
  • Photovoltaic Harvesting - the process of turning direct sunlight into electricity.  It is the most popular form of harnessing the power of the sun.  It is the process of turning direct sunlight into electricity. (23%)

  • Thermoelectric Harvesting - dependent mainly on the operation of the thermoelectric generator (TEG). Thermoelectric energy harvesting, is of particular interest in the automotive and industrial industries, where large amounts of heat are wasted. (8%)

  • Piezoelectric Harvesting - Human motion, low-frequency vibrations, and acoustic sounds are all potential sources of piezoelectric energy harvesting. The piezoelectric effect converts kinetic energy in the form of vibrations or shocks into electrical energy. (4%)

  • RF/Electromagnetic Harvesting  -  RF is an abundance source of ambient energy for harvesting. Electromagnetic waves can come from satellite stations, wireless internet, radio stations, and digital broadcasts. An RF harvesting system captures and converts electromagnetic energy into usable continuous voltage using an antenna and a rectifier circuit as its fundamental building blocks. (19%)

  • Vibration Harvesting - This is possible through several types of technology such as electromagnetic induction or piezoelectric.  Typical applications that would benefit from this would be where sensors or measurement instruments are used to gather data and traditional power sources (batteries or cables) are too expensive or impossible to use. (12%)

  • Wind Harvesting  - kinetic energy from wind is used to generate electricity or mechanical power.  This type of energy is practical as a supplemental source of energy for electrical power grids.  Storage for wind energy can have high initial costs and much cheaper to keep wind energy as one piece of a varied and flexible energy grid than to store wind energy. (0%)

  • Mechanical Harvesting - Any motion or momentum that can be converted to electrical energy such as regenerative braking or using a high speed fly wheel system, as a UPS type of storage.  The wheel is spun up slowly over time and maintained with small impulses, until a power dip is detected, then the kinetic energy is used to spin up a generator to generate electricity to provide energy through the dip (4%)

  • Hydro-mechanical Harvesting - one example is small scale hydro power in the mix as you could get power from rain or any flowing water. Another is example of how this is done using two lakes with one significantly elevated from the other. Water is pump into the higher lake during periods of excess energy available on the grid and then used to generate electricity at 'peak' or high level demands to generate energy. (8%)

  • Superconducting Magnet Harvesting - an example of such a system uses a large superconducting magnet to store energy as a UPS or grid support system.  The system was capable of supporting a 2.1MW load for a limited time (minutes, not hours).  These systems were developed to support manufacturing facilities in isolated area, where power interrupts were quite common.  On of the leading reasons for failures were caused by snakes falling out of trees onto the power lines (short interruptions as the snakes quickly burned off). (0%)

  • Pyroelectric Harvesting - energy harvesting technologies associated with pyroelectric materials and systems have the potential to generate electrical power from thermal fluctuations and is a less well explored form of thermal energy harvesting than thermoelectric systems (4%)

  • Ocean Energy Harvesting (Wave Power) - A relatively new concept of generating energy is to generate energy from oceans. Large masses of waters are present on the planet which carry with them great amounts of energy. The energy in this case can be generated by tidal streams, ocean waves, difference in salinity and also difference in temperature. As of 2018, efforts are underway to harvest energy this way. United States Navy recently was able to generate electricity using difference in temperatures present in the ocean (19%)

  • Some Other Type of Energy Harvesting - Let Us Know Another Type of Harvesting Method in the Comments Below! (0%)


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