Ambient Energy Harvesting Devices to Power the IoT-based Sensor Networks

PI: Lin Dong, Research Associate, Thayer School of Engineering

July 2019 Award Recipient

Project Abstract

The rapid growth of Internet of Things (IoT) is driving demand for self-sustainable, non-conventional and green energy sources in order to power ubiquitous sensor networks. Energy harvesting (EH) provides an appealing power solution free from batteries by converting ambient energy present in the environment to electrical energy. The objective of this research is to develop an innovative hybrid piezoelectric-electrostatic EH strategy, by designing advanced nanomaterials to implement energy conversion from ambient vibrations and power individual sensor nodes of IoT applications. Advances in energy conversion materials design, hybrid EH approaches, and novel nanofabrication techniques establishes a unique integration of research to implement autonomous EH systems by harnessing available energy sources in environment. This project will provide an early investment in a new power solution for our energy futures, especially in future smart green buildings in order to maximize the use and performance of the IoT-based sensor networks. The research findings will help push forward the socio-economic benefits triggered by the proposed EH techniques, especially in commercial and residential IoT applications with significant energy usage reduction and operation costs savings.