Mechanical energy harvester replaces small batteries

May 6, 2013

BOLT micro-power module (credit: MicroGen)

MicroGen has developed a “piezo-MEMS” (piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems) device that gathers ambient vibrations and converts them into electrical energy.

Vibration causes a tiny flap in the device to swing back and forth, generateing electrical current that charges an ultra-capacitor (a thin-film battery).

The “BOLT micro-power module” (MPM) begins commercial-scale production in summer 2013. It was researched and developed by the company at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility.

Uses could include industrial, building and commercial wireless sensors, machinery monitoring, lighting control, wireless price tags at stores, and smart utility metering, and eliminating the 164 million depleted coin-cell batteries in the U.S. and Europe each year that would otherwise need to be recycled.

They could also be used in transportation systems, civil infrastructure monitoring, and asset tracking, and help report outside temperatures at vineyards.