Kinetic energy harvesting offers a universal way to harvest energy in engine compartments, simply due to the fact that vibration energy is always present in varying amplitudes. By using different conversion principles and an appropriate microelectronics system, this energy can be efficiently converted into electrical energy. However, the performance of energy harvesters greatly depends on their ability to adapt to the environmental source.
An automotive aim is to collect the energy generated by shock absorbers and reuse it to recharge the batteries. Recent advances in the development of ultra-low-power microcontrollers have enabled devices that offer unparalleled levels of integration over the power required for operation. In this way, power can be more effectively delivered if it accumulates from the mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic energy available in the local environment. Collecting sources such as heat, light, sound, and vibrations could significantly impact economic and environmental factors, reducing costs and spawning new sensor technologies for the automotive industry.
Mechanical energy is present in nature in the form of various sources, such as vibrating structures or fluid that flows along those structures. Wherever there’s a mass, there’s also great potential for energy-harvesting applications.