Research that includes: 

  • Photosynthetic fuel cell
  • Surface-tension and osmotic driven micropower sources
  • Silicon-based rotary engine power system
  • Proximity power sensor for energy management

BPN394: QES: Micro LHP Chip Cooling System

Jim C. Cheng

Thermal management of high power density electronics is an essential, enabling technology for next generation electronic systems. Phase change is the preferred choice for heat transport solutions because of the ability to absorb large heat fluxes through latent heat. Current technology uses macro- scale capillary driven systems such as Loop Heat Pipes (LHP) and thermosyphons, which are passive devices that have proved to be efficient and reliable. However, these devices do not allow for chip- level integration and do not scale well for future (and even current cutting-edge high-...

BPN648: Fully-Integrated, Low Input Voltage, Switched-Capacitor DC-DC Converter for Energy Harvesting Applications

Michael C. Lorek

This project explores the design of a fully integrated, switched-capacitor DC-DC converter to convert small amounts of energy from photovoltaic or other low voltage energy sources. Clever bootstrapping techniques are used to ensure circuit startup without high-voltage or mechanical assists. Nanopower oscillator topologies are being investigated for minimum power and input voltage operation. Advanced timing schemes are used to minimize charge reversion loss and clock driver short circuit currents for increased efficiency. A boosted output voltage around 1.5V is targeted for...

BPN562: AC Energy Scavenging for Smart Grid Sensing

Son Duy Nguyen
Richard Xu
Chris Sherman

The goal of this project is to devise small, inexpensive modules for indoor or outdoor deployment that sense electrical variables on, and scavenge energy from, energized conductors such as appliance cords and the conductors on high-voltage power transmission lines and equipment. In addition to an energy scavenging element, the modules will contain sensors, their associated signal conditioning circuitry, power conditioning and storage elements, and a wireless radio and antenna. We have recently demonstrated the ability to scavenge 2mW from a nearby conductor carrying 20 Arms, which is...

BPN654: Electret-Based Voltage Sensing and Energy Harvesting from Energized Conductors

Richard Xu

The goal of this project is to design and fabricate electret-based voltage sensors and energy harvesters for Smart Grid and Demand Response applications. The functions of the proposed devices are to sense the voltage variation and harvest energy from energized conductors such as appliance cords and high-voltage power transmission lines and equipment.

Project end date: 02/06/15

BPN737: Graphene-Based Microliter-Scale Microbial Fuel Cells

Vishnu Jayaprakash
Roseanne Warren
Casey Glick

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are energy harvesters that use the anaerobic respiration of microorganisms to generate electricity. With the increase in demand for micro-scale, low power output energy harvesters over the last five years, microliter-scale microbial fuel cells (µMFCs) have received a great deal of scientific interest. Previously, researchers have operated these fuel cells under controlled anodic conditions to attain high current densities and columbic efficiencies. However, relatively low power outputs, inadequate working potentials, complex fabrication processes and...

BPN742: Hash Environmental Energy Storage Based on Two-Dimensional Carbide Materials

Xining Zang
Minsong Wei

MXENE carbide with rich surface -OH, -OOH functional group generally cannot survive higher than 200 oC, and structure collapse with surface oxidation will be critical for energy storage. However, 2d- like nanocrystalline assembled carbide with “purer” carbide phase will provide better temperature and chemical resilience. Highly conductive, capacitive 2d-like carbide hybrid electrodes with high surface area and strong ion intercalation will provide solutions for extreme condition energy storage with high capacitance/capacity.

Project end date: 08/06/18

BPN885: Transition Metal Carbide-Based Membrane for Solar-Water Energy Harvesting

Xining Zang

Solar-enabled evaporation is a solar-energy-harvesting technology that can be used in modern power plants, chemical plants, and seawater desalination plants. A new type of nanostructured laterally assembled two-dimensional carbide (MoC0.66) membrane is manufactured using CO2 laser ablation and vacuum filtration. With high absorption efficiency in a wide spectrum range from visible light to IR, the membrane functions as photo-absorber. With a carbide membrane on top of water, the evaporation under energy input is greatly promoted. Meanwhile, evaporation enabled water flow in the...

BPN782: Flexible Load-Bearing Energy Storage Fabrics

Renxiao Xu
Yuanyuan Huang

The power source is a bottleneck for the successful development of flexible electronics. Instead of using rigid and bulky batteries, flexible multifunctional devices that store energy and bear loads at the same time provide better solutions by working as powering structural components. Here we demonstrate the woven supercapacitor fabrics featuring high flexibility comparable to that of wearable textiles, high tensile strength of over...

BPN874: Charge Pumping with Finger Capacitance for Body Energy Harvesting

Alyssa Y. Zhou

Sensors are becoming ubiquitous and increasingly integrated with and on the human body. As these devices grow in number and decrease in size, there grows a critical need to find sustainable and convenient power sources. We demonstrate a touch interrogation powered energy harvesting system which transforms the kinetic energy of a human finger to electric energy. As is well known for touch display devices, the proximity of a finger can alter the effective value of small capacitances, and these capacitance changes can drive a current which is rectified to charge an energy storage...