It's nice to get some perspective from an expert, especially when there is so much research and information about energy harvesting out there at the moment. It's good to know he thinks that the invention of new energy-harvesting devices is on the rise and that their use will mature in the next few years. This seems to be the way research and the market is trending as well.
The ability to get rid of batteries for low power devices, many of which may be in places difficult to access, is a major driver of this technology. As storage gets better, as well as on demand production, we will see many devices converted. I can just see using this for the computer on my bicycle. I still haven't gotten around to replacing that battery.
I know exactly what you mean, Lou! I had these great noise-cancelling Bose headphones that were a present from a friend but the battery died and I could not for the life of me even find it, yet figure out how to go about replacing it. So the headphones are somewhere in teh bottom of a box in my storage room. Energy-harvesting will help change scenarios liek this I hope!
I agree Lou. The energy can be harvested using whatever method you like, but the real challenge comes in the storage. Due to the high fluctuations in this type of power generation, a storage device is still mandatory. Capacitors and Super Capacitors can be used for some low power applications, but when it comes to prolong power distribution, we still need batteries. The batteries are still the real bottleneck of our energy sector even when using alternative methods of power generation.
Yes, Daniyal, I think you are right that storage will turn out to be the deal breaker when it comes to using energy-harvesting on a grand scale, but it's still going to be a great option for low-power and ultra-low-power devices, especially very small ones where batteries just aren't practical. But I think combo energy harvesting/storage devices will become more prevalent in the future, so you won't have traditional batteries per se, except in the sense that they are self-sustaining and perpetuating batteries due to the harvesting. Not sure if this would work on a grand scale, though.
Thanks Richard for such an informative post , No dount this method is making very famous these days and not only through solar we aare harvesting enegy but engineers gave developed many different ways as well. In England tiles are adjusted on the foot path to harvest energy when people step on it .
I have read somewhere that in some club of America tha dance floor has the mechanism of harvesting energy as the people places preasure on the floor while dancing . We can say that this technology is on its boom and definitely in future it will be very usefull.
Debera, your comment is interesting to me. When you say "England," do you mean in London? I actually have written about floor-tile technology that was used during the Olympics in London, and wondered if this is what you were referencing or if there is other energy-harvesting technology being used on footpaths.
Here is a story I wrote for your reference: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=262295
I am just curious if there is another company or some other technology being used of which I am not aware. Thanks!
In a relevant scenario, thinking on a large scale level, i hope in the future the prices of these renewable energy utilities reach a certain manageable level. Being a design engineer in this field myself, i know how hard it is to design a cost effective solution for the users. The off-grid systems are especially very expensive due to the additional use of batteries. Mostly in commercial areas people are leaning towards on-grid solar systems, because the off-grid system is not viable. Though the firms are saving large amounts of money using the on-grid systems as well, but we are still dependent on the grid. But seeing the rapid developments in this field, i am hopeful that this dependence will be one day completely eliminated.
Excellent post Rich. I think the real "take away" here is our continued ability and willingness to drive this technology. I certainly feel it's the proper way to go. Any time we can reduce our dependence upon fossil fuels and obtain available alternate sources of energy we are money ahead. I am always amazed at the idea coming forth relative to this subject. The one that blows my mind involves "collecting" energy from pressure derived by footsteps. Great use of otherwise wasted energy. Again-excellent post.
@ Elizabeth M, you are right there is a lot of research and information available on it. But that often is the problem that a lot of information confuses the reader and expert opinion is the ultimate credible source of information. It is good to know the expert opinion about energy harvesting and his predictions about the development of this technology.
@ Daniyal_Ali, I completely agree with you. We have harnessed multiple sources of energy but we are yet to deal with storage in a befitting manner. Energy storage is the main reason behind high cost of many systems. If we take solar for example, bulk of investment is still needed for batteries. Solar panels on the other hand are not that costly.
Andy yes solar panels are not that costly what is coostly is the batteries of the panel plus the maintanance . If we say that solar panels is not a huge investment it wont be correct because investing in batteries or maintanace is also the same thing only
@Debera: Well investing on solar panels is good because its something which we can use for the future. Power is something which is very costly so going ahead and investing on something like this is vital
@fdos: Good point mate. I think we do need to invest more on nature. By doing that in return we will benefit a lot out of it. Solar is one of them and there are many more which we still might not have even identified
Definitely storage of all of this energy is the next frontier, AnandY. There are some small scale and localized ways to do it with some of these devices, but large-scale is still yet to be tackled. But experts are working on it.
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