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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H013458/1
Title: Energy Harvesting Network Proposal
Principal Investigator: Beeby, Professor SP
Other Investigators:
Merrett, Professor G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronics and Computer Science
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Network
Starts: 01 March 2010 Ends: 31 March 2013 Value (£): 112,278
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Sep 2009 Process Environment and Sustainability (PES) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Energy harvesting (EH) is a means of powering wireless electronic devices by scavenging many low grade ambient energy sources such as environmental vibrations, human power, thermal and solar and their conversion into useable electrical energy. EH devices are therefore potentially attractive as replacements for primary batteries in low power wireless sensor nodes. They also hold the promise of one day enabling the powering of a range of devices not currently possible including implantable and wearable medical devices. A recent study which drew on the inputs of those currently involved in or seeking to use EH technology [Kompis & Aliwell, 2008] highlighted the inherently multidisciplinary nature of EH work and the world leading position of Europe in this area. In the UK there are a number of prominent academic groups and a world leading company with commercial EH products. Europe is widely recognised (even in the USA) as having led the commercialisation of EH technology and being at the forefront of research efforts. It also recommended a challenge-led approach to drive R&D. A major finding that was reinforced during discussions with EPSRC (20th Oct 2008) was that the academic community is diverse but fragmented and also in need of new research challenges beyond just miniaturisation of current macro-scale devices. The application focus characteristic of the field needs to move on to the more challenging scenarios to realise the full potential of EH and this will take the involvement of new players and new approaches.A number of challenges remain and it is generally believed that so far it is only the low hanging fruit that have been addressed in development EH technology. Currently all commercial offerings are macro in scale and restricted in application to industrial condition monitoring or building control applications. For the true potential of EH to be realised in enabling the next generation of wireless devices e.g. medical implantables and embedded sensors there are a number of particularly difficult challenges to be met. This goes beyond current efforts at miniaturisation of devices. Despite the current multidisciplinary approach which includes expertise in MEMS fabrication, electronics design, systems level optimisation and transducer design, the teams of today will not be adequate to address many of these challenges. What is required is that the researchers reach out for skills and inspiration in other academic disciplines, not currently involved in EH research, and find applications challenges in more demanding sectors. This proposed network will seek to achieve this by defining and progressing the new research challenges and by engaging the full range of potential end users more broadly in dissemination on the current and future capabilities of EH technology. This is vital if Europe and UK within in are to maintain their world lead in this vital enabling technology.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk