Energy Harvesting Report

Energy Harvesting in Action

Updated December 2011
Covering over 160 cases from 31 countries
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Ambient energy
Energy harvesting is the use of ambient energy to provide electricity for small and or mobile equipment, whether electrical or electronic. In 2011, $700 million is spent on the energy harvesting component itself, rising to just under $5 billion in 2021.
Those wishing to use energy harvesting need reassurance that it is a technology that has progressed beyond trials and new product announcements. They need to benchmark best practice. In addition, potential users and those supplying, financing or otherwise involved in energy harvesting need to identify the successful suppliers, technologies and users and learn from the failures out there. The report from IDTechEx "Energy Harvesting in Action" ( provides the answers, with analysis of over 160 successful ongoing uses of energy harvesting in 31 countries. Here we summarise some of the findings.
Most successful applicational sectors
The main ongoing uses so far of energy harvesting are in the following applicational sectors.
However, this is rapidly changing, mainly as more territories catch up with others in different aspects. For example, in energy harvesting for vehicles, Ford, Volvo, Volkswagen, BMW and others are now in extensive trials of energy harvesters for braking and capturing energy from heat.
Overall winners
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In market value, variety of applications and number of devices, the Consumer sector is biggest of all and will remain so for the next ten years. Overall, photovoltaics is the clear winner and we believe its dominance will continue. Overall, China is the main manufacturer of products employing energy harvesting by number and value and this situation will pertain for the foreseeable future. Of the many types of energy harvesting employing electrodynamics, those capturing human energy are hugely successful. They include bicycle dynamos, wind-up radios and lights, kinetic wristwatches and miniature wind turbines.
There is a second generation of energy harvesting where two technologies are combined, notably photovoltaics with electrodynamic in laptops, radio, phone chargers, rock fall monitors, cars and road furniture, etc. This is more successful than piezoelectrics or thermoelectrics now but without the glamour. Indeed, totally new forms of photovoltaics and electrodynamics are now in ongoing use. Examples are non-silicon flexible PV in bags and apparel and electrodynamics in paving.
In our research, most suppliers of energy harvesting turn out to be small companies. In due course there will be a shakeout into large and small niche suppliers with little in between.
Further down the experience curve
The leaders in the energy harvesting market have usually been down the technological dead ends and entered second and third generation technology. There is always a doubt in the minds of potential users when they see newer companies offering technologies abandoned by the leaders yet with no clear breakthrough to explain why they can succeed where others failed. Some even offer what they can make rather than what is needed.
Leading continents and countries
By a big margin, the USA spends far more on energy harvesting products than any other country. Primarily, it takes the form of expenditure by NASA and the US Department of Defense, and the public buying consumer goods, all favouring photovoltaics.
Research in this report
In the IDTechEx report "Energy Harvesting in Action" we give more than 160 case studies of energy harvesting in ongoing use in 31 countries - enough to give some idea of the leading countries, technologies and applications. The number of case studies given by application sector in the report are shown below.
Source IDTechEx report "Energy Harvesting in Action"
Additional Benefits
All report purchases include one hour free consulting with a report author from IDTechEx, by email or telephone. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
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Table of Contents
1.2.Size and structure of the market
1.4.Primary energy harvesting needs
1.5.Types of energy harvesting
1.5.1.Technologies likely to succeed in future
1.5.2.Using several technologies together
1.5.3.Payback from energy harvesting
1.5.4.Importance of the Third World
2.1.Afghanistan laptop computers
2.2.Brazil, Botswana, Palestine West Bank solar charged hearing aid
2.3.Burundi mobile phones
2.4.Haiti "Faith Comes by Hearing" electronic bibles
2.5.Kenya mobile phone
2.6.South Africa Freeplay foetal heart monitor
2.7.South Africa Freeplay radio
2.8.Uganda mobile phone
2.9.Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Namibia, Zambia, payphone
3.1.Canada Trudeau International Airport
3.2.China National Space Administration satellites
3.3.France European Space Agency satellites
3.4.India Space Research Organisation satellites
3.5.Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
3.6.Switzerland solar plane
3.7.UK satellites
3.8.USA aircraft AeroVironment
3.9.USA Amerigon fuel cells
3.10.USA military guidance system tester
3.11.USA Military land vehicles
3.12.USA NASA on Mars- planetary exploration vehicles
3.13.USA NASA satellites and space vehicles
3.14.USA Textron Bell helicopter sensing
4.1.Brazil Yacht Ferretti environmental controls
4.2.Italy mooring buoys
4.3.Japan lighthouses
4.4.Japan sea buoys
4.5.Switzerland electric boats
4.6.UK Rolls Royce turbines
4.7.UK sea buoys
4.8.USA sea buoys
4.9.USA sea gliders Liquid Robotics
5.1.Austria Uniqa tower controls
5.2.Brazil Philips intelligent lighting
5.3.Brazil SMT Sandvik headquarters controls
5.4.Canada Club Intrawest Whistler
5.5.Canada IKEA Brossard
5.6.Canada institute de Cardiologie controls
5.7.Canada Olympic Village Whistler
5.8.Canada Promutuel insurance building controls
5.9.Canada Promutuel insurance building controls
5.10.Canada Regulvar office controls
5.11.Canada St Andrew's Cathedral Victoria
5.12.Canada St Joseph Elementary School
5.13.Canada The Citadel of Quebec
5.14.Canada Zero Energy Green Home
5.15.France Nestlé headquarters controls
5.16.Germany Adidas Herzogenaurach building controls
5.17.Germany Agnes Karl Hospital Laartzen controls
5.18.Germany Alexander Wacker Haus building controls
5.19.Germany AVIVA Munich controls
5.20.Germany AXA Maschinenbau
5.21.Germany BSC headquarters building automation
5.22.Germany Elementary School Bromskirchen
5.23.Germany Festo AG Technology Center Hamburg
5.24.Germany Hotel Platzl controls
5.25.Germany Hotel Winkler Brau
5.26.Germany ICE Phoenix headquarters controls
5.27.Germany Juwi Headquarters controls
5.28.Germany Kaispeicher building controls
5.29.Germany MAN Werk Munich controls
5.30.Germany MDS Landesfunkhaus Thuringia
5.31.Germany Medical Center of Quedlinberg controls
5.32.Germany Messe Frankfurt
5.33.Germany Milk production Facility Hocheifel
5.34.Germany Mueritz Clinic Waren controls
5.35.Germany Multimedia Center Hamburg
5.36.Germany OS3 office building controls
5.37.Germany Premino 11 office building controls
5.38.Germany residential building Rothermel
5.39.Germany residential buildings Schorndorf
5.40.Germany Rolandsbruecke office building Hamburg
5.41.Germany SAP Headquarters Walldorf
5.42.Germany Semper Opera Dresden controls
5.43.Germany Siemens Munich
5.44.Germany Slab Method Housing Estate Neurippon
5.45.Germany Suddeutsches Kunstoffzentrum Wurtzburg
5.46.Germany Takko headquarters
5.47.Germany Thermokon extension controls
5.48.Germany Weberhaus
5.49.Japan - East Japan Railway Company
5.50.Luxembourg School Axima controls
5.51.Netherlands DZ railway station
5.52.New Zealand University Hall Canterbury controls
5.53.Norway Grenseveien office building controls
5.54.Spain building controls
5.55.Spain senior residence
5.56.Spain Torre Espacio controls
5.57.Switzerland AGS Basel building controls
5.58.Switzerland IBM Haltstetter controls
5.59.Switzerland office building renovation controls
5.60.Switzerland Timbered building
5.61.UAE Hotel Kempinski controls
5.62.UK Club Surya dance floor
5.63.UK Mond laboratory renovation controls
5.64.UK staircase The Facility
5.65.USA 1000 Continental King of Prussia
5.66.USA Bryan High School
5.67.USA Hotel Kahana Falls Hawaii
5.68.USA Industrial automation etc
5.69.USA Leggat McCall building lighting-control
5.70.USA Park City Utah
5.71.USA Perrysburg Gym lighting controls
5.72.USA Pulse Switch Systems building controls
5.73.USA University Art Museum New Haven
5.74.USA VA Medical Center
5.75.USA Wyndham Hotels access controls
6.1.Denmark USA Copenhagen bicycle
6.2.France, Italy Bluecar
6.3.Japan Honda cars
6.4.Japan Nissan Capacitor Hybrid truck
6.5.Japan Toyota Prius
6.6.Sweden Volvo hybrid bus
6.7.UK 2012 Olympic Games staircase
6.8.UK Think Formula One racing
6.9.USA Cruise Car golf carts
6.10.USA Fisker Karma car
6.11.USA Tesla car
6.12.USA train brakes
6.13.USA wireless PulseSwitch
7.1.Antarctica E-Base
7.2.China media wall
7.3.Germany Playmobil Fun park Zirndorf controls
7.4.Israel Power Paving
7.5.Korea street signs
7.6.Norway Shell Nyhamma gas plant sensors
7.7.Spain solar bus stop
7.8.Switzerland rock fall monitor
7.9.UK Sainsbury car park
7.10.USA Australia - smart grid sensing TelepathX
7.11.USA BP gas pipelines
7.12.USA desert tortoises
7.13.USA Extramart Convenience Store
7.14.USA Greece Corinth bridge monitoring
7.15.USA Sarasota County street lighting
7.16.USA Times Square displays
8.1.Austria Head Sports Intelligent Ski
8.2.China Bluetooth headset
8.3.China calculators Texet
8.4.China Easy Energy handheld charger
8.5.China Fast Trak lantern
8.6.China hand cranked flashlight
8.7.China High Tech Wealth solar phone
8.8.China Hong Kong Mascotte phone charging bags
8.9.China Hong Kong solar bag Mascotte
8.10.China hybrid charger HYmini
8.11.China in-wheel bicycle dynamo
8.12.China piezoelectric gas lighter
8.13.China solar garden lighting
8.14.China solar mole repeller
8.15.Germany "bottle" bicycle dynamo
8.16.Germany Odersun phone charging bags
8.17.Japan Casio solar wristwatches
8.18.Japan Citizen wristwatches
8.19.Japan educational toy Tamiya
8.20.Japan Seiko kinetic watch
8.21.Japan solar phone Sharp
8.22.Japan Toppan Forms
8.23.Korea solar touch phone Samsung
8.24.South Africa foot powered charger
8.25.Switzerland Swatch Group wristwatches
8.26.USA Australia power umbrella
8.27.USA iPod Touch
8.28.USA Voltaic Systems bag charger
1.1.Frazer Nash Namir
2.1.Treadle powered laptop
2.2.Solar hearing aid charger
2.3.Proclaimer in action
2.4.Mobile phone in use in Kenya
2.5.Freeplay postal heart monitor
2.6.Freeplay wind up radio in Africa
2.7.Mobile phone charging shop in Uganda
2.8.Solar payphone in Uganda
3.1.Trudeau International Airport
3.2.CNSA moon orbiting satellite with solar cells
3.3.Solar powered ESA satellites
3.4.Successful ISRO moon satellite
3.5.JAXA moon project
3.6."Ibuki" GOSAT greenhouse gas monitoring satellite
3.7.Swiss solar plane
3.8.AeroVironment Inc energy efficient electric systems
3.9.Helios, the 247-foot wingspan solar-powered airplane
3.10.Combining photovoltaic and electrodynamic harvesting in an aircraft
3.11.Automotive power flow
3.12.Thermoelectrics to improve the efficiency of stationary Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
3.13.Oshkosh hybrid truck
3.14.International Space Station
3.15.Solar panels for the Hubble telescope
3.16.Helicopter vibration harvester
3.17.Bell model 412 helicopter
4.1.Yacht Ferretti
4.2.Mizunokoshima lighthouse
4.3.Buoy with tidal power generation
4.4.Solar powered boats for tourism cruising at 12 kph on Lake Geneva
4.5.Buoy with efficient printed lighting
4.6.Sea buoys
4.7.USA sea gliders Liquid Robotics
4.8.Wave Glider
5.1.Uniqa tower
5.2.Intelligent lighting system
5.3.SMT Sandvik HA
5.4.Club Intrawest
5.6.Institute de Cardiologie
5.8.Olympic village
5.9.Promutuel building
5.11.Regulvar office
5.12.Regulvar office 2
5.13.St Andrew's Cathedral
5.14.St Joseph school
5.16.Green home
5.17.Nestlé HQ
5.18.Adidas Herzogenaurach
5.19.AK Hospital
5.20.Alexander Wacker Haus building
5.21.Office building
5.24.Festo AG
5.25.Hotel Platzl
5.26.Hotel Winkler
5.27.ICE Phoenix
5.28.Juwi HQ
5.29.Kaispeicher building
5.32.Medical center
5.33.Messe Frankfurt
5.34.Meuritz Clinic
5.35.Multimedia Center
5.36.OS3 Intelligent office building
5.37.Premino 11
5.38.Rothermel building
5.39.Shorndorf building
5.40.Rolandsbruecke building
5.41.SAP HQ
5.42.Semper Opera
5.44.Housing estate
5.48.Modern Housing
5.49.Luxembourg school
5.50.DZ railway station
5.51.University Hall
5.52.Grenseveien office
5.53.Spain senior residence
5.54.Torre Espacio
5.57.Office building
5.59.Hotel Kempinski
5.60.Club Surya in London
5.61.Mond Laboratory
5.62.Mond interior
5.63.1000 Continental
5.64.Bryan school
5.65.Hotel Kahana
5.66.AdaptivEnergy's Joule-Thief energy-harvesting module
5.67.Park City
5.68.PulseSwitch lighting switches
5.69.Transparent demonstrator
5.70.PulseSwitch harvesting element
5.71.Art Museum
5.72.VA Medical Center
5.73.Keycard Access Switch
6.1.The Copenhagen bicycle
6.2.The Copenhagen Wheel
6.4.Pininfarina Bolloré Bluecar cross section
6.5.2010 Toyota Prius
6.6.Solar panel on roof of the new plug in Prius
6.7.Volvo hybrid bus Sweden
6.8.Cruise Car Inc solar golf cart
6.9.Fisker Karma
6.10.Tesla Motors Roadster pure EV performance car
7.1.China media wall
7.2.Playmobil Fun Park
7.3.Power paving
7.4.Solar and turbine harvesting for road furniture
7.5.Perpetuum electrodynamic harvesting
7.6.The designers at the solar bus stop in Barcelona
7.7.Solar bus stop in San Francisco
7.9.Sensor monitoring rock net using energy of net movement and solar cells
7.10.Extramart traffic area
7.11.Solar-powered wireless G-Link seismic sensor on the Corinth Bridge in Greece.
7.12.Multiple solar-powered nodes monitor strain and vibration at key locations on the Goldstar Bridge over the Thames River in New London, Conn
7.13.LED street light
7.14.Duracell Power Rover
8.1.Intelligent Ski
8.2.Left, traditional ski - right, Head Intelligence ski with Intellifibers
8.3.China Bluetooth headset
8.4.Texet calculator
8.5.Electrodynamic Easy Energy YoGen
8.6.Wind up lantern
8.7.Hand cranked electrodynamic torch
8.8.Hi-Tech Wealth's S116 clamshell solar phone
8.9.Mascotte G24i Solar bag
8.10.Solar camera bag powered by G24i launched in 2010 with dedicated camera battery charger
8.11.Multimode electrodynamic / solar EH chargers HYmini and MiniSolar.
8.12.In-wheel dynamo
8.13.Piezoelectric gas lighter
8.14.Solar garden lighting
8.15.Solar mole repeller
8.16.Bosch dynamo
8.17.Odersun solar bag
8.18.Casio WV-M120E-1VER radio controlled Solar powered Bracelet Digital Watch
8.19.Citizen EcoDrive photovoltaic wristwatch
8.20.EH tag
8.21.Seiko Kinetic mechanism
8.22.Ultimate Kinetic Chronograph
8.23.Charge indicator
8.24.Sharp solar phone
8.25.Card with no battery, the image being illuminated by RF power from an RFID reader
8.26.Flashing flexible OLED display at point of purchase POP
8.27.Light emitting business card with images that light up sequentially
8.28.Solar powered photo stand
8.29.Flat sheet type of charger that is flexible
8.30.OLED posters powered by flexible photovoltaics
8.31.Light emitting display with audio all powered by ambient light
8.32.Poster with electrophoretic display counting down to the arrival date of Beaujolais Nouveau.
8.33.Poster combining flashing LED with Toppan Forms Audio PaperTM sound
8.34.Samsung solar phone
8.35.Weza electrodynamic, foot operated charger
8.36.Tissot Autoquartz watch
8.37.Power umbrella
8.38.iPod Touch solar charger
8.39.Voltaic solar bag

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