Course: Energy Harvesting

Aim of the course

Our daily living is governed by a comprehensive, omnipresent and ubiquitous information network with a remarkably small, continuously shrinking “grid size”. Implanted and portable biomedical devices, sensor-assisted navigation, portable multimedia, distributed sensor networks, smart label technologies, mobile communication or portable IT systems are the forerunners of this revolutionary trend that is gaining importance in almost every living and working environment. Together with that, the serious question arises, how a widely distributed network of embedded systems should be supplied with energy.

Micro Energy Harvesting, i.e. the conversion of ambient energy into the supply energy required for an embedded system, is a promising perspective, as it would make the nodes truly energy-autonomous, without the need of power grids or batteries. However, a simple replacement of the battery or the supply cord by a local “micro power plant” will not solve the task. In contrary, micro energy harvesting relies on a thorough design of the whole embedded system. Micro energy converters have to be provided with a size and function compatible to the respective application site. The varying availability of ambient energy will require an efficient intermediate storage to bridge phases of low supply, as the back-up power grid is not available. An efficient energy management has to transfer the electrical energy between all subsystems in an optimal way. Finally, the energy consumption of the system node itself has to be minimized to a high extent by appropriate design and system control measures.

These issues define an extremely widespread field of research and development that is not easily covered in a one-day course. Therefore, this course will give, on one hand, an overview of the actual state of the art in microgenerators with some detail remarks on generator design, a thorough description of relevant energy storage concepts and an overview on electronic power management. Finally, practical examples of energy-autonomous embedded systems will be discussed in various fields of applications, e.g. in building infrastructure or automotive applications.

Target group

This course is designed for the practicing scientist or engineer, but also for a technical marketing person, to provide an overview on the wide field of energy harvesting and also a selected in-deep knowledge on various areas of this widespread discipline, e.g. the design of microgenerators, of power management, and some insight into application scenarios.

Course content

Course language



Prof. Dr. Peter Woias is a full professor and head of the Laboratory on Engineering Design of MEMS at the Dept. of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the Albert-Ludwig-University Freiburg, Germany. His actual research focuses on microfluidics for medical applications, chemical micro process engineering, micro energy technology and microfabrication. He is, at the moment, member of the Cluster of Excellence livMatS, where he directs research area A named “Energy Conversion and Storage”. His own research in energy harvesting is on piezoelectric, triboelectric, electret and thermoelectric generators, on power management electronics and on energy-autonomous embedded systems.

Registration deadline

21 October 2024

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