Energy Harvesting

Powering IoT Devices from motion energy harvesting

We now live in a connected world with the Internet of Things (IoT). This presents a revolutionary force, reshaping industries and everyday life with its vast network of interconnected devices. These smart devices are optimizing crop production, improving medical treatment, boosting industrial productivity, and monitoring critical infrastructure in our smart cities that enhances urban living. IoT devices are becoming ubiquitous and important. However, as these devices proliferate across various sectors, a significant challenge emerges, how to power them in a manner that is both sustainable and efficient.

Traditional power sources, such as batteries, often fall short in meeting the demands of these devices due to their limited lifespan, environmental impact, and the logistical challenge of maintenance and replacement. This growing energy dilemma casts a shadow over the potential of IoT technologies, prompting a search for reliable alternatives that can ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of these digital ecosystems. In this context, energy harvesting presents itself as an innovative and desirable solution, offering a way to harness ambient energy from the environment—such as solar, thermal, vibration, and RF energy—to power IoT devices. This approach not only promises to extend the operational life of IoT devices but also aligns with the broader goals of environmental sustainability and efficiency, setting the stage for a new paradigm in powering the digital world.

What is Energy Harvesting?

Energy harvesting is a transformative technology that captures ambient energy present in the environment and converts it into electrical power. This innovative process addresses the critical need for sustainable and efficient power sources, especially in the realm of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are proliferating across various sectors at an unprecedented rate. Unlike traditional power methods, energy harvesting utilizes the energy already available in its surroundings—be it light, heat, or motion—thereby offering a perpetual power supply without the need for external fuel sources or battery replacements.

At its core, energy harvesting is about efficiency and sustainability. It allows devices to operate autonomously for extended periods, significantly reducing maintenance requirements and the environmental impact associated with battery use and disposal. The process involved in how much CO2 is emitted by manufacturing batteries underlines the substantial carbon footprint associated with batteries, which are fundamental to numerous contemporary technologies. Producing just one AA battery emits 0.107kg of CO2, highlighting the environmental impact even on a small scale. In contrast, Onvol’s VolPower unit, an energy harvester, presents a stark reduction in CO2 emissions. By replacing the need for 2500 batteries, a single VolPower unit can prevent up to 267.5kg of CO2 from being emitted, considering that the unit itself only contributes 25kg of CO2 during its production process. This results in a net reduction of 242.5kg of CO2 for every harvester installed, showcasing the substantial environmental benefits of adopting energy harvesting technologies over traditional battery use.

This not only extends the lifespan of devices but also broadens the scope of their application, enabling deployment in remote or inaccessible locations where regular maintenance is not feasible. As such, energy harvesting emerges as a pivotal solution in the evolution of smart, connected devices, propelling the IoT industry towards a future where technology harmonizes with the environment, rather than depleting its resources.

Why Energy Harvesting for IoT is Important

Energy harvesting for IoT is fundamentally important due to the pressing limitations of traditional power sources, such as batteries and wired connections, which significantly hinder the sustainability, efficiency, and scalability of IoT applications. Traditional batteries, while ubiquitous, present a challenge with their finite lifespans, necessitating frequent replacements, which can be both costly and labor-intensive, especially in large-scale IoT deployments. This issue is compounded by the environmental impact associated with the disposal of batteries, which contain harmful chemicals that contribute to pollution, chemical discharge, and resource depletion.

Lithium batteries are composed of materials that may pose risks to health and the environment, including metals like copper, nickel, and lead, along with organic compounds, such as hazardous and combustible electrolytes that contain LiClO4, LiBF4, and LiPF6. Regulations typically govern human and environmental exposure to these substances during the production process of lithium batteries.

Wired connections, although reliable, limit the mobility and flexibility of IoT devices, restricting their deployment to areas within close proximity to power sources and complicating the installation in remote or hard-to-reach locations.

The introduction of energy harvesting as a power solution for IoT devices addresses these critical challenges head-on. By utilizing ambient energy sources available in the device’s environment—such as solar, thermal, or kinetic energy—energy harvesting provides a sustainable, continuous power supply that can significantly extend the operational lifespan of IoT devices. This shift not only reduces the reliance on batteries, mitigating environmental harm and maintenance hassles, but also enhances the scalability and versatility of IoT applications, allowing devices to be deployed more freely and in a wider range of settings. The ability of energy harvesting to convert otherwise wasted ambient energy into electrical power underscores its importance in realizing the full potential of IoT technologies, making it a key enabler of more sustainable, efficient, and expansive IoT ecosystems.

 

Methods of Energy Harvesting for IoT 

Energy harvesting for IoT employs various methods to capture and convert ambient energy into usable electrical power. Each method leverages different types of environmental energy, making energy harvesting a versatile and adaptable solution for powering IoT devices. Here are the primary methods used in energy harvesting for IoT applications:

Solar Energy Harvesting

How it works: Utilizes photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electrical energy.

Applications: Ideal for outdoor IoT devices, such as agricultural sensors or outdoor lighting controls, where sunlight is abundant.

Vibrational Energy Harvesting

How it works: It employs piezoelectric materials or electromechanical devices to convert mechanical vibrations into electricity.

Applications: Suitable for industrial environments where machinery produces consistent vibrations, or in wearable devices that can harness human motion.

Thermal Energy Harvesting

How it works: Uses thermoelectric generators to convert temperature differences between two materials into electrical power.

Applications: Effective in environments with variable temperatures, such as heating and cooling systems, or for devices placed near engines or human bodies.

RF Energy Harvesting

How it works: Captures ambient radio frequency waves from sources like cell towers, Wi-Fi, and broadcast antennas, converting them into electrical energy.

Applications: Useful for urban environments with dense RF backgrounds, powering small sensors or devices that require minimal energy.

Kinetic Energy Harvesting

How it works: Converts motion or direct mechanical force into electrical energy, often through electromagnetic induction or piezoelectricity.

Applications: Applicable in wearables, mobile equipment, and other devices where motion can be a consistent energy source.

Each of these methods taps into a different form of ambient energy, offering tailored solutions depending on the environment and energy requirements of the IoT device. By selecting the appropriate energy harvesting method, IoT devices can achieve greater autonomy, reduce maintenance needs, and minimize environmental impact, marking a significant step towards sustainable and efficient IoT ecosystems.

“Energy Harvesters” by Onvol: Revolutionizing IoT Power Solutions

At the heart of the sustainable IoT revolution, “Energy Harvesters” by Onvol offer a solution that is as elegant as it is necessary. As the IoT landscape continues to grow, with billions of devices connecting us like never before, the question of how to power these devices sustainably has never been more critical. “Energy Harvesters” emerge as a beacon of progress in this regard, harnessing ambient environmental energy to power IoT devices without the environmental toll of traditional batteries or the limitations of wired power sources.

Onvol’s “Energy Harvesters” are specifically engineered to harness kinetic energy, capturing the power of movement to generate electrical power. This focused approach eliminates the need for frequent battery replacements, drastically cutting down the environmental toll linked with conventional battery usage. By leveraging the boundless potential of kinetic energy, Onvol ensures that IoT devices can function autonomously, with unwavering reliability and, crucially, in a sustainable manner. This method not only aligns with eco-friendly practices but also opens up new possibilities for powering devices in motion-centric applications

The unique value of Onvol’s “Energy Harvesters” is rooted in their capability to offer a continuous, maintenance-free power solution, specifically utilizing kinetic energy harvesting to serve a wide array of applications. From powering agricultural sensors in the most remote fields to energizing critical infrastructure within the bustling environment of smart cities, these devices ensure dependable power. Expanding their utility beyond these areas, Onvol’s technology is also pivotal in sectors like wind energy—where the movement of air drives turbines, mining operations where machinery motion can be converted into valuable energy, and transportation systems, harnessing the dynamic energy of moving vehicles. In each application, “Energy Harvesters” champion the cause of sustainability and efficiency, providing a reliable power source that taps into the ever-present energy of motion.

Onvol’s Kinetic Energy Harvesting technology revolutionizes power generation for wind turbines and provides a groundbreaking, sustainable solution for fleet management. By capturing energy from movement with a weighted system that amplifies even minimal motion, the harvesters efficiently convert this captured force into electricity using advanced electromagnetic generators. This process ensures that every movement of the blade contributes to a more consistent and reliable energy output, significantly reducing reliance on traditional fuels and lowering operational expenses.

In essence, “Energy Harvesters” by Onvol symbolizes a pivotal shift towards a more sustainable IoT ecosystem. They offer a practical, effective solution to the energy challenge, powering the future of interconnected devices in harmony with the planet. As we navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving digital world, the role of innovative solutions like “Energy Harvesters” becomes not just beneficial but essential, marking a significant step forward in powering IoT devices reliably and sustainably with energy harvesting.

Conclusion

The journey towards integrating IoT devices into our daily lives is not without its challenges, yet it heralds a new era of innovation and connectivity. Central to overcoming these challenges is addressing the sustainability and reliability of powering such devices. Energy harvesting emerges as a crucial solution in this context, providing a sustainable, efficient, and reliable power source that leverages the ambient energy surrounding us. “Energy Harvesters” by Onvol exemplifies this solution, offering a tailored, innovative device that captures and converts movement into electrical power. As we embrace the potential of IoT to transform various sectors, from transportation and mining to industrial automation, the importance of sustainable power solutions becomes paramount. With advancements in energy harvesting technologies, spearheaded by initiatives like those of Onvol, we stand on the brink of a revolution that promises not only to connect us more but to do so in a manner that is harmonious with our environment.