Energy harvesting is the production of electricity from ambient energy. Usually the objective in electric vehicles is to increase range and safety. Range is increased in two ways. Either a very powerful form of energy harvesting such as shock absorbers or regenerative braking adds significant amounts of energy to the traction battery or wireless sensors and actuators improving safety also save many kilograms of wiring this also increasing range significantly. This is doubly true when control clusters, wireless sensors, wireless actuators and lighting etc are printed and laminated saving up to 40% of cost, space and weight. Distributed wireless intelligence with energy harvesting providing mere whispers of electricity locally is therefore much more significant in future design of electric vehicles by land, sea and air than is usually acknowledged. Fly by wire can be replaced by fly by wireless in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles AUVs and other electric vehicles, though not in an airliner where a terrorist may have a magnetron transmitter to foul the system. The new IDTechEx report Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2011-2021 extensively covers the allied subject of energy harvesting for charging stations.
Mr Alastair Callender Callender Designs, Dr Ella Atkins University of Michigan, Dr Harry Igbenehi Flexible Electronics Concepts
Leaders in energy harvesting for electric vehicles include ASOLA, EADS, Callender Designs, University of Michigan, Levant Power Corporation, ENFICA-FC and Kopf Solarschiff. Flexible Electronics Concepts and T-ink are leaders in printing and laminating electronics and electrics. In addition, Nextreme Thermal Solutions has announced the availability of the new eTEG™ HV37 thermoelectric power generator, the next entry in the high-voltage (HV) series of clean energy generators based on thin-film thermoelectrics. The eTEG HV37 converts waste heat into electrical energy for a variety of self-powered applications in the automotive, aerospace, industrial and medical device markets including, but not confined to wireless sensors in these applications. The eTEG HV37 joins Nextreme's other power generators, the eTEG HV56 and HV14, to offer a complete line of thermoelectrics that address a range of power and voltage requirements.
The eTEG HV37 is capable of producing 1.0mW of output power and an open circuit voltage of 170mV at a 10K ΔT in a footprint of only 6mm2. At 50K ΔT, the HV37 produces 24mW of power and an open circuit voltage of 850mV. The module is extremely thin: only 0.6mm high, and can be configured electrically in series to produce higher voltage and power outputs.
For more attend the IDTechEx event Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air Europe 2011 in June.
Image source: Nextreme