Energy harvesting at the heavy end
At the event, "Energy Harvesting and Storage Europe 2015", uniquely, the whole scope of energy harvesting will be reviewed. Energy harvesting has been a term mainly used for generating a whisper of electricity from ambient energy to drive wireless sensors and the like. The favourite technologies remain electrodynamics and photovoltaics for this, with thermoelectrics starting to be used more in third place.
However, the same technologies can generate kilowatts in electrical engineering applications. Examples are harvesting the heat of the engine of a giant construction vehicle and the energy of the swinging and dropping action of its working arms rather like regenerative braking of a truck. Komatsu / KELK will present on this. The best-selling pure electric bus, the BYD B9 comes with the option of a roof load of photovoltaics generating kilowatts and there are many presentations on high power photovoltaic systems even including windows and other Building Integrated Photovoltaics BIPV.
Witt Energy will present a new three dimensional electrodynamic harvester that, even before optimisation, generates one watt on a back pack with its 3D pendulum. Scaled up, it promises kilowatts from wave power, one of the development priorities. Pavegen with Shell will do a joint presentation on, "Re-imagining our Energy Future by Creating a Lasting Community Impact". Pavegen is involved in energy harvesting paving and flooring where there is a contest between piezoelectric and electrodynamic solutions. Either can generate kilowatts over large areas.
Presenter Dr Peter Harrop of IDTechEx says, "I shall discuss the exciting new energy harvesting shock absorbers for vehicles, amongst other radical advances in the "Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing" conference at the event. Some are rotational and can generate energy from braking, just like the new reversing alternators in conventional cars. Many can serve active suspension not just with electricity but by being a part of it. None are in production yet but many universities and companies such as Levant Power are variously preparing them for over ten kilowatts in heavy military vehicles and buses and even for cars where a useful 1-2kW may be in prospect."
Top image source: Witt Energy