MBE Research Highlights

High-performance Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters and Their Applications

Zhengbao Yang1, 3, Shengxi Zhou2, Jean Zu3, Daniel Inman4

  1. Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
  2. School of Aeronautics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, 710072, China
  3. Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
  4. Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Link: www.cell.com

Full citation:
Zhengbao Yang, Shengxi Zhou, Jean Zu, and Daniel Inman. "High-Performance Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters and Their Applications." Joule (2018).

Research Highlights - Dr. YANG, Zhengbao

Introduction and highlights

With the rapid advances in wireless sensors, implantable electronics and wearable devices, the demand for high-power-density and long-lifespan power sources is becoming increasingly stronger. Energy harvesting, emerging as an alternative energy solution to batteries, holds great potential to achieve self-powered autonomous operations of such low-power electronic devices, and thus has attracted much attention from both academia and industry recently. The piezoelectric effect is widely adopted to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy, duo to its high energy conversion efficiency, ease of implementation and miniaturization. This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of state-of-the-art research on piezoelectric energy harvesting. From the viewpoint of applications, we are most concerned about whether an energy harvester can generate sufficient power under a variable excitation. Therefore, here we concentrate on methodologies leading to high power output and broad operational bandwidth. A variety of designs, nonlinear methods, optimization techniques and harvesting materials are reviewed and discussed in depth. The study also evaluates different figures of merit and presents a systematic performance comparison on recently-proposed energy harvesters. Furthermore, we identify four promising applications: shoes, artificial pacemakers, tire pressure monitoring systems, and bridge & building monitoring. The excitation characteristics of each application are analyzed and corresponding harvesting methods are discussed.

The piezoelectric energy harvesting technology has experienced significant progress in the past ten years. However, research on energy harvesters is mostly conducted without specific applications, and reliability and system integration have not been well examined. More research is expected to deal with these issues to facilitate in turning decades of research efforts on energy harvesting to tangible benefits in our daily life.

Last modified on 16 April, 2018