That sounds like an interesting proejct, vimalkumarp. I think vehicles like cars and aircrafts are good applications for thermal energy and think some of the key research is in this area. With all the heat generated by engines and other parts on these vehicles, there is great potential for harvesting energy that can be used to power other parts of them.
It is true that The potential of harvesting thermal energy doesn't get nearly the attention that taking energy from wind and solar sources does. Thermal energy harvesting will herald a new age in energy harvesting. I am working on a project in energy harvesting for the strustural health monitoring of aircarfts and I am keen to know thermal energy harvesting. but what I understand is that temperature level has to be very high so as to enable this.
Yes, I think energy harvesting researchers are starting to see the potential of the automobile for providing its own energy. Thermal would definitely be a good way to go, Chuck. And in case you missed it, here's a link to a story I did on energy harvesting shock absorbers: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=264515
That focused on vibration, but still was part of the same concept of reusing energy from the automobile.
While it's good to see dollars going into energy harvesting research, it's still a small amount. I'm also curious about the potential scale of energy-harvesting devices. So far, the instances I've seen are on a relatively small scale.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
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