Hybrid device harvests magnetic and mechanical energy

A new study reveals a unique hybrid device that harvests both mechanical and magnetic energy.

Tyler MacDonald | Jul 17, 2018

A team of scientists used a hybrid device to harvest both mechanical and magnetic energy. In time, it could replace our need for batteries in low-power electronic devices.

The new study that outlines the finding examines its method of energy collection: ambient wasted energy stemming from magnetic fields and mechanical vibrations. Through harnessing this energy, the device creates sustainable electricity that could eventually be used to power cardio pacemakers, wireless sensors, and other applications.

The team, led by Fulei Chu at Tsinghua University in Beijing, examines how magnetic and mechanical energy are "interactive," meaning that together they increase optimal power output beyond the level possible when using either energy type alone.

"We have proposed the idea of taking advantage of two different energy harvester approaches and showing their interactions," Chu said. "As we know, energy harvesters have been investigated for decades and many methods are involved. However, each approach has its shortcomings. It is difficult and interesting to break through the single energy harvester limitations. Moreover, revealing the interactive relationship is important for the work as a whole."

Using the new insights, the team revealed improvements in optimal power output, reliability, and energy capacity when using the hybrid energy-harvesting device.

"We plan to conduct deeper research in the energy harvester field in the future," Chu said. "Wind energy, wave energy, and more smart material applications in energy systems will be the focus of our research besides the further investigations of this paper."

The findings were published in Applied Physics Letters.