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Sensors 2011, 11(10), 9275-9299; doi:10.3390/s111009275

The Potential for Harvesting Energy from the Movement of Trees

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), P.O. Box 330, Newcastle, NSW 2300, Australia
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Received: 23 July 2011 / Revised: 1 September 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2011 / Published: 28 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

Over the last decade, wireless devices have decreased in size and power requirements. These devices generally use batteries as a power source but can employ additional means of power, such as solar, thermal or wind energy. However, sensor networks are often deployed in conditions of minimal lighting and thermal gradient such as densely wooded environments, where even normal wind energy harvesting is limited. In these cases a possible source of energy is from the motion of the trees themselves. We investigated the amount of energy and power available from the motion of a tree in a sheltered position, during Beaufort 4 winds. We measured the work performed by the tree to lift a mass, we measured horizontal acceleration of free movement, and we determined the angular deflection of the movement of the tree trunk, to determine the energy and power available to various types of harvesting devices. We found that the amount of power available from the tree, as demonstrated by lifting a mass, compares favourably with the power required to run a wireless sensor node.
Keywords: energy harvesting; energy scavenging; tree energy; tree movement; tree sway; wireless sensor network; sensor node; wind energy energy harvesting; energy scavenging; tree energy; tree movement; tree sway; wireless sensor network; sensor node; wind energy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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McGarry, S.; Knight, C. The Potential for Harvesting Energy from the Movement of Trees. Sensors 2011, 11, 9275-9299.

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