Special Issue "State-of-the-Art of Techniques, Devices and Electronic Circuits for Energy Harvesting"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Vittorio Ferrari
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering (DII), University of Brescia, Via Branze 38, I 25123 Brescia, Italy
Interests: Piezoelectric sensors and transducers; Resonant and acoustic-wave sensors; Energy harvesting for sensors; Sensor interface electronics; MEMS and microsensors for physical quantities.
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Skandar Basrour
Website
Guest Editor
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, TIMA, 38000 Grenoble, France
Interests: Micro power generators for autonomous microsystems, Design and technologies for integrated micro–nano systems and microsystems for bio and medical application
Prof. Dr. Marco Ferrari
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering (DII), University of Brescia, Via Branze 38, I 25123 Brescia, Italy
Interests: energy harvesting for autonomous sensors and microsystems; sensors for physical and chemical quantities; piezoelectric sensors and transducers; resonant and acoustic-wave sensors; low-noise front-end electronics for sensors; contactless interrogation techniques for resonant and capacitive sensors; MEMS and microsystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

After the initial pioneering period of novelty and curiosity, energy harvesting has recently become a mature research field that today engages and fascinates scientists and engineers worldwide.

Energy harvesting consists of collecting the sparse energy available in the environment across different domains—such as mechanical, thermal, and radiant—and converting it into electrical energy to power sensor nodes, embedded or wearable devices, and low-power electronic circuits.

Energy harvesting is seen as a competitive alternative to batteries or fixed power supplies, and it is recognized as an enabling technology for the development of energetically autonomous wireless sensor units capable of a virtually unlimited lifetime in unattended operation. Such innovative devices could find applications in a variety of sectors, such as industrial automation, automotive and avionics, structural and environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, portable and wearable devices, internet of things and smart cities.

Significant progress in the field has been made since the early results, and commercial solutions are now on the market. However, open challenges still exist, initial expectations are being better defined, and new opportunities are emerging through the development of research and knowledge.

This Special Issue is intended to provide an updated overview of the current status of the research on energy harvesting, especially oriented to sensors and microsystems.

We warmly invite you to submit contributions on all scientific and technical aspects of energy harvesting, ranging from conversion techniques and devices at the macro- or microscale, to electronic circuits for energy management, sensor signal conditioning and transmission.

The topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Theory, design, modeling, fabrication, experimental characterization and applications of energy harvesting systems
  • Mechanical, thermal, radio-frequency, solar energy harvesting
  • Piezoelectric, electrostatic, electromagnetic, triboelectric, thermoelectric, pyroelectric, and other, conversion effects in energy harvesting
  • MEMS and microscale energy harvesters
  • Electronic circuits for energy management and storage
  • Autonomous sensors and battery-less sensor nodes
  • Zero-power sensing

Prof. Dr. Vittorio Ferrari
Prof. Dr. Skandar Basrour
Prof. Dr. Marco Ferrari
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Snap-Through Buckling Mechanism for Frequency-up Conversion in Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 3614; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103614 - 23 May 2020
Abstract
This paper describes a piezoelectric energy harvester employing a snap-through buckling (STB) mechanism for frequency-up conversion (FuC). The harvester consists of two main components: a bistable mechanical structure and one piezoelectric cantilever beam. The device is designed by means of analytical methods and [...] Read more.
This paper describes a piezoelectric energy harvester employing a snap-through buckling (STB) mechanism for frequency-up conversion (FuC). The harvester consists of two main components: a bistable mechanical structure and one piezoelectric cantilever beam. The device is designed by means of analytical methods and numerical simulations. A proof-of-concept prototype is manufactured and tested under low frequency mechanical excitation. Experimental results show that, if the STB is induced, from the second stable configuration back to the undeformed one, the FuC is obtained and the response of the beam presents frequency components in a wide range, even though the resonant frequency of the cantilever beam is not excited. The results are hence in agreement with the expected behavior: if the device, forced in the second stable configuration, is subject to a low-frequency excitation whose amplitude exceeds a threshold, STB is triggered and the ensuing FuC provokes a widening of the beam vibrations frequency range and consequently a significant effectiveness in terms of power output. A maximum power of 4 mW is obtained by using an optimal resistive load as STB from a stable configuration of the bistable mechanism to the other one is triggered; a maximum energy of 4.5 μ J is obtained in case of a rectifier circuit with storage capacitor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
SPICE Model Identification Technique of a Cheap Thermoelectric Cell Applied to DC/DC Design with MPPT Algorithm for Low-Cost, Low-Power Energy Harvesting
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(18), 3744; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9183744 - 07 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this work, an identification technique of a simple, measurements-based SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) model is presented for small low-cost Peltier cells used in thermoelectric generator (TEG) mode for low-temperature differences. The collection of electric energy from thermal sources is [...] Read more.
In this work, an identification technique of a simple, measurements-based SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) model is presented for small low-cost Peltier cells used in thermoelectric generator (TEG) mode for low-temperature differences. The collection of electric energy from thermal sources is an alternative solution of great interests to the problem of energy supply for low-power portable devices. However, materials with thermoelectric characteristics specifically designed for this purpose are generally expensive and therefore often not usable for low cost and low power applications. For these reasons, in this paper, we studied the possibility of exploiting small Peltier cells in TEG mode and a method to maximize the efficiency of these objects in energy conversion and storage since they are economical, easy to use, and available with different characteristics on the market. The identification of an accurate model is a key aspect for the design of the DC/DC converter, in order to guarantee maximum efficiency. For this purpose, the SPICE model has been validated and used in a design example of a DC/DC converter with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithm with fractional open-circuit voltage. The results showed that it is possible to obtain a maximum power of 309 µW with a Peltier cell 2 × 2 cm at a ΔT of 16 °C and the designed SPICE DC/DC converter performance proved the improvement and optimization value given by the TEG model identification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analytical Electromechanical Modeling of Nanoscale Flexoelectric Energy Harvesting
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(11), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9112273 - 01 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
With the attention focused on harvesting energy from the ambient environment for nanoscale electronic devices, electromechanical coupling effects in materials have been studied for many potential applications. Flexoelectricity can be observed in all dielectric materials, coupling the strain gradients and polarization, and may [...] Read more.
With the attention focused on harvesting energy from the ambient environment for nanoscale electronic devices, electromechanical coupling effects in materials have been studied for many potential applications. Flexoelectricity can be observed in all dielectric materials, coupling the strain gradients and polarization, and may lead to strong size-dependent effects at the nanoscale. This paper investigates the flexoelectric energy harvesting under the harmonic mechanical excitation, based on a model similar to the classical Euler–Bernoulli beam theory. The electric Gibbs free energy and the generalized Hamilton’s variational principle for a flexoelectric body are used to derive the coupled governing equations for flexoelectric beams. The closed-form electromechanical expressions are obtained for the steady-state response to the harmonic mechanical excitation in the flexoelectric cantilever beams. The results show that the voltage output, power density, and mechanical vibration response exhibit significant scale effects at the nanoscale. Especially, the output power density for energy harvesting has an optimal value at an intrinsic length scale. This intrinsic length is proportional to the material flexoelectric coefficient. Moreover, it is found that the optimal load resistance for peak power density depends on the beam thickness at the small scale with a critical thickness. Our research indicates that flexoelectric energy harvesting could be a valid alternative to piezoelectric energy harvesting at micro- or nanoscales. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing Wind Energy Harvesting Using Passive Turbulence Control Devices
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050998 - 10 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Aiming to predict the performance of galloping piezoelectric energy harvesters, a theoretical model is established and verified by experiments. The relative error between the model and experimental results is 5.3%. In addition, the present model is used to study the AC output characteristics [...] Read more.
Aiming to predict the performance of galloping piezoelectric energy harvesters, a theoretical model is established and verified by experiments. The relative error between the model and experimental results is 5.3%. In addition, the present model is used to study the AC output characteristics of the piezoelectric energy harvesting system under passive turbulence control (PTC), and the influence of load resistance on the critical wind speed, displacement, and output power under both strong and weak coupling are analyzed from the perspective of electromechanical coupling strength, respectively. The results show that the critical wind speed initially increases and then decreases with increasing load resistance. For weak and critical coupling cases, the output power firstly increases and then decreases with the increase of the load resistance, and reaches the maximum value at the optimal load. For the weak, critical, and strong coupling cases, the critical optimal load is 1.1 MΩ, 1.1 MΩ, and 3.0 MΩ, respectively. Overall, the response mechanism of the presented harvester is revealed. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Expert Control Systems for Maximum Power Point Tracking in a Wind Turbine with PMSG: State of the Art
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(12), 2469; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9122469 - 17 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Wind power is a renewable energy source that has been developed in recent years. Large turbines are increasingly seen. The advantage of generating electrical power in this way is that it can be connected to the grid, making it an economical and easily [...] Read more.
Wind power is a renewable energy source that has been developed in recent years. Large turbines are increasingly seen. The advantage of generating electrical power in this way is that it can be connected to the grid, making it an economical and easily available source of energy. The fundamental problem of a wind turbine is the randomness in a wide range of wind speeds that determine the electrical energy generated, as well as abrupt changes in wind speed that make the system unstable and unsafe. A conventional control system based on a mathematical model is effective with moderate disturbances, but slow with very large oscillations such as those produced by turbulence. To solve this problem, expert control systems (ECS) are proposed, which are based on human experience and an adequate management of stored information of each of its variables, providing a way to determine solutions. This revision of recent years, mentions the expert systems developed to obtain the point of maximum power generation in a wind turbine with permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG) and, therefore, offers a control solution that adapts to the specifications of any wind turbine. Full article
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