, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 334-347
Date: 18 Oct 2008

Comparison of energy harvesting systems for wireless sensor networks

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Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) offer an attractive solution to many environmental, security, and process monitoring problems. However, one barrier to their fuller adoption is the need to supply electrical power over extended periods of time without the need for dedicated wiring. Energy harvesting provides a potential solution to this problem in many applications. This paper reviews the characteristics and energy requirements of typical sensor network nodes, assesses a range of potential ambient energy sources, and outlines the characteristics of a wide range of energy conversion devices. It then proposes a method to compare these diverse sources and conversion mechanisms in terms of their normalised power density.

James M. Gilbert graduated from the University of Hull, UK, with a bachelor degree in electronic engineering in 1986 and with Ph.D. in robot control in 1989. He has since been a lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the same university.
His research interest includes energy harvesting devices, particularly for sensor network applications.
Farooq Balouchi obtained M. Eng. degree from Department of Engineering the University of Hull, UK, in 2006. He is currently a Ph. D. candidate in energy harvesting for wireless and actuator networks.
His research interest includes developing innovative mechanisms for harvesting energy from human movement, specifically mechanisms which are embedded under sprung floors and stairwells.