Monday, July 22, 2013

Harvesting – key to a sustainable energy strategy

Millions of kilowatts of kinetic energy are created every day (and night) by unmanaged sources within our current global culture. Energy that is unfortunately lost as heat or movement. A thoughtful strategic plan for energy management requires focus on finding ways to capture, store and distribute this kind of energy. 

This area is typically divided into two general categories:
·         Movement: piezoelectric devices containing ceramics or polymers can self-generate power through being squeezed or stretched.
·         Temperature: thermoelectric devices based on materials that create a charge through changes in temperature

There are many places where energy could be captured and exploited. 

Large scale:
  • bridges shaking as cars roll over them
  • subways zooming through subterranean tunnel
  • heat from airplane engines and smokestacks

Small scale:
  • people walking on urban streets or in office buildings
  • pushing a cart through a grocery store
  •  waste heat from vehicle exhaust pipes
This field represents an exciting new area for exploration and for #futurework. Share your thoughts.
Here is a BBC article about a company in England called Pavgen building floor tiles that capture energy. For info on the Metrology of Energy Harvesting go here.


Jean-Luc and Ibsen said...

this is a very interesting concept. In the developing world, people walk everywhere. Imagine shoes that capture that energy and allows them to sell it.

Jean-Luc Charles

Unknown said...


Thanks so much for your comment. Yes - I agree,- there is tremendous potential benefit for using this technology in developing countries. I imagine there are many energy-generating activities that could be captured. Certainly walking is a great one. Maybe the movement of livestock. Or activities associated with an agrarian lifestyle such as plowing a field, planting seeds or even harvesting a crop. Translating age-old activities into electricity to power the 21st century - what an exciting meshing.