The project fits into the economic development strategy for alternative and sustainable sources of energy. The energy that we want to harvest in this project are ‘truly free’ mechanical sources like fluid flows (like wind or river), parasitic vibration (in engines or rotating machines, for example) or human movements (voluntary motion like walking or hand movements). The main applications are low consumption nomad electronics and remote wireless sensors. The heart of the project is to develop a prototype that integrates, on the same flexible chip, a microgenerator that converts this ambient mechanical energy into electrical energy that can recharge a low consumption electrical load, through a specific electrical converter. Since the efficiency of such a mechanical harvesting device strongly depends on the matching between: the piezoelectric microgenerator, the power management circuit, the electrical load (usually a capacitor, or a supercapacitor or a Li battery), we propose in this project to have an integrative approach: studying and designing the whole energy conversion chain.
The piezoelectric microgenerator is a ZnO – polymer composite device that will be optimized in order to fulfill the requirements of the other sub-systems, power management circuit and electrical load.