Paper: Towards Optimal Kinetic Energy Harvesting for the Batteryless IoT

March 6th, 2020

Traditional Internet of Things (IoT) sensors rely on batteries that need to be replaced or recharged frequently which impedes their pervasive deployment. A promising alternative is to employ energy harvesters that convert the environmental energy into electrical energy. Kinetic Energy Harvesting (KEH) converts the ambient motion/vibration energy into electrical energy to power the IoT sensor nodes. However, most previous works employ KEH without dynamically tracking the optimal operating point of the transducer for maximum power output.

In this paper, we systematically analyse the relation between the operating point of the transducer and the corresponding energy yield. To this end, we explore the voltage-current characteristics of the KEH transducer to find its Maximum Power Point (MPP). We show how this operating point can be approximated in a practical energy harvesting circuit. We design two hardware circuit prototypes to evaluate the performance of the proposed mechanism and analyse the harvested energy using a precise load shaker under a wide set of controlled conditions typically found in human-centric applications.

We analyse the dynamic current-voltage characteristics and specify the relation between the MPP sampling rate and harvesting efficiency which outlines the need for dynamic MPP tracking. The results show that the proposed energy harvesting mechanism outperforms the conventional method in terms of generated power and offers at least one order of magnitude higher power than the latter.


Experimental setup for measuring the harvested power using KEH converter-less and converter-based hardware designs with a stable load shaker.

Muhammad Moid Sandhu, Kai Geissdoerfer, Sara Khalifa, Raja Jurdak, Marius Portmann, Brano Kusy. Towards Optimal Kinetic Energy Harvesting for the Batteryless. IoT IEEE Pervasive Computing and Communications Conference (2020).

Download the full paper here.

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