By Courtney E. Howard
HAMPTON, Va.—Engineers at AdaptivEnergy LLC in Hampton, Va., have developed and unveiled an innovative power technology that harvests and converts energy from vibration into usable electricity.
The Joule-Thief Energy Harvesting Module, which is expected to hold tremendous potential for military and aerospace applications, employs an energy-harvesting beam based on AdaptivEnergy’s proprietary, ruggedized laminated piezo (RLP) technology and energy collection and storage circuitry.
The Joule-Thief is capable of harvesting usable energy at vibration amplitudes that are below the threshold of human perception to power electronics like wireless sensors, says a company representative.
The module provides users with a standard 3.6-volts-DC output. The harvested energy can then be stored using any of a variety of options, including capacitors and battery technologies, to match various user applications.
Joule-Thief modules are now available in standard frequencies of 60 Hz and 120 Hz, with custom frequencies available upon request.
AdaptivEnergy also offers an optional Wireless Sensor Demonstration Kit for mating the Joule-Thief module to a sensor board. The kit includes an MSP430 microcontroller and a CC2500 wireless transceiver, both of which hail from Texas Instruments.
The sensor board sports a temperature, pressure, and light sensor, as well as a switch and potentiometer to allow experimentation with vibration powered wireless sensing, switching, and proportional control.
The sensor data can then be transmitted to virtually any computer for use. All the sensors, the microcontroller, and the transceiver are powered by the Joule-Thief module.
For additional information on the Joule-Thief energy harvesting module and associated Wireless Sensor Demonstration Kit, visit AdaptivEnergy LLC online at www.RLPenergy.com.