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Energy Harvester Invented That Doubles Electrical Output
February 2, 2009

Virginia Tech researchers have developed an energy harvester that produces greater electrical output than similar technology of the same size – slightly smaller than a credit card. Energy harvesters, devices that convert other forms of energy to electricity, are poised to replace conventional batteries, providing limitless power to a wide range of low-power electronics like medical implants and portable devices.

According to inventor Alper Ertrk, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, the newly developed L-beam design provides more than twice the voltage of existing designs. Just like the sparks made in lighters used to start barbecue grills and fireplaces, the piezoelectric material at the heart of this new technology transforms vibrations into electricity. But this L-shaped harvester not only provides more voltage, it also scavenges electricity from a wide range of vibrational frequencies.

Funding for the project was provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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