Energy harvesting materials draw interest in industry

Frost & Sullivan research reports that new technical advances and rising energy prices are driving new research into energy scavenging solutions.


Although energy harvesting materials wererelatively unknown in the past, their unique properties have driven them into thespotlight recently. Technical advancements in the field have led to large-scaleimprovements, giving rise to high-efficiency energy scavenging solutions. Atthe same time, escalating energy prices have necessitated the development ofcost-effective energy harvesting materials to decrease dependence on energysources.

Materials with the ability to support self-powered

devices were among the first energy harvesting technologies developed, pushing

forward the growth of the piezoelectric (PE) and electromagnetic (EM) energy

harvesting materials market. Other materials now available capture light energy

from sunlight at almost all wavelengths, thereby increasing energy density.

Several manufacturers from across the globe have

deployed energy harvesting products for commercial use; however, large-scale

production of these devices has not been attained. Though research has

identified various energy sources for harvesting energy, only a few techniques

have proven useful forhigh-volume production.

A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan "Energy Harvesting Materials -- The Road Ahead,"

asserts that continuous technical developments will result in fabrication of

new and self sustainable solutions in various market sectors.

"The design of a successful energy harvesting

module depends not only on the material's efficiency but also on the module

architecture, which could be the critical factor defining effectiveness,"

notes Frost & Sullivan analyst Krzysztof Grzybowski. "Developers must

place equal emphasis on material development and smart utilization."

Incentives from governments and non-profit

organizations have encouraged universities and industry participants to develop

newer alternative materials for energy harvesting.

Although the outlook for energy harvesting

materials looks upbeat, there are some challenges that have overshadowed the

landscape. High material prices have remained a spoke in the wheel for the

industry and limited the use of several materials.

Restrictions placed on the use of certain materials

intended for the development of energy harvesting devices due to environmental

concerns has also deterred the use of a good number of potential materials.

Within the piezoelectric (PE) materials, the most popular are the lead

composites such as lead zirconate titanate (PZT).The use of lead in these

energy harvesting materials has raised apprehensions.

Apart from this, the increasing consumption of

cadmium telluride for solar cell applications has diminished telluride

resources, rendering it an unfeasible alternative. This fact has also served to

rein in the growth of thermal energy-based harvesting, considering that bismuth

telluride is the predominantly used material for such applications.

"Recent trends in energy harvesting materials

point to an exponential increase in the commercialization interest in four harvesting

techniques -- PE, thermo-electric, EM, and photovoltaic (PV)," says

Grzybowski. "These techniques pertain to different layers of applications

such as electronics, automotive, medical, and aerospace, where each of these

diverse domains are assumed to be equally critical in defining today's and

tomorrow's energy harvesting."

Access other Control Engineering contentrelated to energy efficiency:


- Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering Sustainable Engineering
News Desk

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.