According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from energy-harvesting systems will grow from $283 million in 2014 to nearly $375 million in 2020. These systems convert ambient energy to useable electrical energy and offer an alternative to battery power for portable devices. Using a variety of energy sources including electromagnetic radiation, and thermal, kinetic, and mechanical energy, energy-harvesting technology is powering a range of consumer products, such as laptops and mobile phones.
Another important application is pervasive sensor networks, where sensors monitor measurable commodities in real time, providing information about temperature, humidity, security, machine and structural health. Energy harvesting offers several advantages over conventional power supplies, according to the report, and developers are quickly becoming familiar with how to implement this technology into ever more innovative applications.
"The idea of mobile devices that charge themselves continuously, without intervention, access to electrical outlets, or unwieldy cords, has been prevalent among both developers and users for some time," according to Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research.
The report, "Energy Harvesting," analyzes existing and emerging energy- harvesting technologies, looking at nine end-use consumer and industrial application segments and the four most successful transduction methods for converting ambient energy. It also includes extensive technology segmentation that shows key implementation strategies for the most common energy harvesting technologies operating in portable, pervasive and autonomous systems.