Advantages and Disadvantages of Energy Harvesting Techniques

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Energy Harvesting Techniques. It mentions Energy Harvesting advantages (i.e. benefits) and Energy Harvesting Techniques disadvantages (i.e. drawbacks).

There are various types of energy harvesting techniques. Following section describes merits and demerits of solar, mechanical, thermal and biochemical types.

• Solar type uses photo-voltaic cell for conversion.
• Mechanical type uses various conversion mechanisms which include vibration, electrostatic, electromagnetic, piezoelectric, wind, strain, fluid flow, piezoelectric, blood pressure, breathing, human body, kinetic etc.
• Thermal or pyroelectric uses thermogenerators as conversion mechanism.
• Bio-fuel cells redox reactions such as glucose/O2 is used as conversion mechanism in bio-chemical based energy harvesting.
Refer types and basics of energy harvesting techniques>>.

Energy Harvesting Techniques Advantages

Following Energy Harvesting advantages of different techniques or mechanisms.
➨Solar: simple, cheap, efficient (about 15mWatt/cm2), Refer advantages and disadvantages of Solar Energy and Solar cells
➨Mechanical: environmentally enclosed, protected, reliable, predictable energy output, higher energy output etc.
➨Thermal or pyro-electric: No moving parts, long lifespan, potential for human body worn applications.
➨Bio-chemical: Availability of constant fuel source, implantable applications for human being.

RF energy harvesting system

Refer RF energy harvesting system>>.

Energy Harvesting Techniques Disadvantages

Following are Energy Harvesting techniques disadvantages.
➨Solar: It can not power the sensor directly and requires overcharge protection, Solar is unpredictable source of energy.
➨Mechanical: Wear on the parts may limit lifespan, piezoelectric materials used in some devices degrade over time, size is issue with electro-magnetic devices, Limited power output, limited practical operational duration etc.
➨Thermal: low energy, higher cost, low power output (about 40µW/cm3), limited usage due to higher temperature gradient requirements, power output depends on thermal gradient conversion efficiency.
➨Biochemical:Sensitive to external environment, not available commercially, limitation on lifetime and reliability of biological components

Conclusion: Inspite of disadvantages, energy harvesting techniques are popular due to their low cost benefits.

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