Energy Harvesting - Power Everywhere

VLAB Presents: Energy Harvesting - Power Everywhere

Three factors are reaching a tipping point to open up new vistas in Energy Harvesting: cheaper, smaller, long-lasting batteries; Super low power CPUs and digital signal processors; and innovations in the energy harvesting devices themselves. Benefits range from the convenience of eliminating wiring clutter and frequent battery replacement, to the enabling of new applications where prohibitive wiring or battery costs are avoided altogether.

The cost of finding and replacing batteries at frequent intervals for small devices such as wireless sensors and building & industrial controls is a challenge. Scavenging energy from the environment is becoming more attractive. There are over 500 products based on perpetually powered technologies ranging from simple light switches, which are powered by simply pressing the switch, to more complex devices that measure the integrity of the rotating blades on military helicopters. It is estimated that this segment of the market alone will yield an approximate $1.2B opportunity by 2014.

Growth in renewable energy itself will drive increased demand for energy storage capacity. Batteries represent about a $39B market, which will grow to $50B over the next five years; with rechargeable batteries leading the way. Energy harvesters are one approach in charging these batteries.

The military, security and aerospace industries with a projected market potential of over $1B, heavily rely on electronics that require field power where there are no convenient outlets for recharging batteries. In the battlefield soldiers use portable electronic systems, which can include communications equipment, thermal sights, night-vision goggles, GPS and portable or laptop computers. All of this equipment needs a lightweight and long lasting source of power. Our featured presenter shares exactly such a solution with us, with a product that harvests ambient energy generated by human motion.

Enhancing energy and power capacity in mobile and consumer devices may be the inflection point in guiding energy harvesting from a niche market into the mainstream "high volume" consumer market. Other possible use cases may include perpetually powered devices for monitoring traffic and road conditions, or sniffing out pesticides and other toxins. "Is there a new App for that?"

Moderator and Panel:

Rex Northen, Executive Director of the Cleantech Open (Moderator)
Yad Garcha, CEO, BionicPower (Presenter)
Robert Andosca, Founder & CTO, MicroGen Systems
Dr. Cyril Vancura, Investment Director, Robert Bosch Venture Capital
Dr. Ahmad Baghai Dowlatabadi, Founder & CEO, Aivaka
Nicholas Fowler, Chairman & CEO, Perpetua Power Source Technologies

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