Energy harvesting in smart industrial machines: Generating the energy you need from the sources you know
Abstract: A smart system can be defined as a system incorporating sensing, actuation, control and communication, in order to adjust to or inform about the system’s context or own condition. Through technological advances, particularly in microelectronics, “smartness” has been demonstrated in a number of application domains, ranging from smart healthcare and smart homes, to smart cities and smart industries. To realize smartness on large scale, however, the energy supply to the necessary technologies is still a challenge. Batteries have been the go-to solution in cases where a fixed electrical infrastructure is infeasible or impossible. Batteries, however, have a limited energy capacity and lifetime, resulting in maintenance requirements that are typically undesirable at scale. Consequently, the conversion of ambient energy sources – commonly referred to as energy harvesting – is investigated as an alternative.
In this talk, an introduction as to what energy harvesting is, what it can be used for, and what challenges it faces, will be given. It will provide a holistic view, covering examples of energy sources to be exploited, conversion mechanisms to be utilized, and implementation aspects to be considered for system integration. During the talk, concrete cases of energy harvesting systems for smart industry applications will be explored in order to provide tangible examples. Moreover, open research challenges for energy harvesting and self-powered smart systems will be addressed, and an outlook on research trends given.