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Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Thesis Statements

Active Energy Harvesting on Piezoelectric Materials: Experimental Demonstration and Standalone Circuit Implementation

Tian, Geng
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 16, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Heath Hofmann, Thesis Advisor
  • Power Electronics
  • Active Energy Harvesting
  • Piezoelectric
  • PVDF
The need for wireless remote sensors is a fast increasing trend in many industries. The sensors need to survive without maintenance for long periods of time or indefinitely, especially for those placed in inaccessible locations. Energy harvesting using piezoelectric devices is a possible solution to this problem. There are two types of energy harvesting approaches; namely, passive and active. The passive methods are well established and have already been put into new sensor product by some companies, but the performance of the passive method is much lower than the energy potential of the piezoelectric devices. The active energy harvest idea, which was proposed and systematically studied by Dr. Yiming Liu, increases the efficiency of energy harvesting dramatically. However, instead of using a practical low-power standalone circuit to support his ideas, he performed the experiment by using a microcontroller with very high power consumption which is thousands times higher than the power generation capacity of the piezoelectric materials. In this thesis, an improved active energy harvesting core interface is developed and the supporting standalone circuit with ultra-low power consumption is proposed. The piezoelectric PVDF is used for energy harvesting, it provides much higher power than the single-crystal material used in [2] when utilizing a multilayer configuration. The harvested power achieved under this approach was up to 27mW at 1.4% strain, and the power consumption of the standalone active circuit was only 1.4mW.

It's always exciting when an academic shares their work and knowledge with us... especially when it involves energy harvesting research using one of our packaged piezos.  

I recently received Nazenin Gure's thesis that I wanted to share because it's the most thorough I've seen yet related to piezoelectric energy harvesting.  She did a great job of:

  • Detailing the theoretical background on piezoelectrics
  • Quantifying a real world vibration environment: metro trains
  • Evaluating performance of the harvesters in that environment (both theoretically with ANSYS and experimentally)
  • Designing the most efficient mechanical and electrical configuration to optimize energy harvesting output

Piezoelectric Theoretical Background

The thesis starts off with an overview on energy harvesting and piezoelectricity.  This effort includes the initial discussion on the piezoelectric effect; but it carries this forward and derives all the necessary equations for designing an efficient piezoelectric energy harvesting system.

Preliminary Evaluation of Train Vibration Data

One of my favorite parts of her thesis is that she used real world data from an actual suburban metro train in Istanbul, Turkey.

Performance Evaluation of Piezo Harvesters

Nazenin takes the train data and first theoretically computes what the expected energy harvesting potential of Mide's  piezo energy harvesters will be.  She also proposes a novel two degree-of-freedom energy harvesting design to improve performance.


Nazenin did a great job in this thesis to bring new insight to the examination of piezoelectric energy harvesting potential.  Mide's also excited to see what she comes up with her novel multi degree-of-freedom energy harvesting structure design!  To download the full copy of her thesis please click the following link.  Also don't hesitate to reach out to her via LinkedIn or ResearchGate; and always, please feel free to contact us at Mide with any questions!

Download This Free Thesis (PDF)

For an overview on energy harvesting and piezoelectricity, an initial discussion on the piezoelectric effect and all the necessary equations for designing an efficient piezoelectric energy harvesting system.

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