Energy Harvesting: Computing without Batteries

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GRØN DYST 2010 Technical University of Denmark

Energy Harvesting: Computing without Batteries
Paper
Author:Johan Pedersen (Department of Informatics and Mathematical Modeling, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark)
Supervisor:Jan Madsen (Department of Informatics and Mathematical Modeling, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark)
Thomas Sørensen (Lights and Acoustics, DELTA Danish Electronics, Denmark)
Date: 2010-06-25     Track: Main     Session: 1
DOI:10.4122/1.1000000134
DOI:10.4122/1.1000000135

Wireless sensor networks, where a large number of small sensing and computing devices are deployed in the environment, enables remote sensing and monitoring of climate and environmental conditions within a potential large area which can be in the outdoor environment as well as indoor in buildings. When applied in buildings, a more efficient monitoring of temperature, airflow, lighting, humidity, etc. will not only allow a better indoor climate, but also reduce the amount of energy usages and, hence CO2. Although the sensing and computing devices are small, they need energy to run! Until recently, energy has been provided by batteries. However, it is possible to harvest energy from the environment, effectively obtaining a free and clean energy source. In this project, we will explore the potential of harvesting energy from temperature differences. The energy lies in the heat flow between objects and the surrounding air. When the surrounding air temperature changes, objects situated in this air will change temperature correspondingly, but with a small time delay. Due to this time delay there will be moments where a temperature difference between the air and the object arises. This temperature difference can be utilised to harvest electrical energy using a peltier element. The project will develop a thermal energy harvesting model which can be used to simulate how much energy can be harvested from a certain object in a certain temperature environment. The model will be tested and verified in a free field climate chamber provided by Delta.