Don Scansen writes:
The viability of an energy harvesting application often depends on components that can efficiently extract very low levels of power at low current and/or low voltage, and deliver these to a storage battery or capacitor. The premise is simple: scavengers of ambient energy rely only on what they are given and what is available, sometimes more, sometimes less.
This self-evident truth places great importance on products such as step-up low voltage boosters, which are self-powered modules that convert a low DC voltage input to a higher AC or DC voltage output suitable for low-power energy harvesting applications using photodiodes, thermoelectric or electromagnetic generators as the input source.
Step-up Micropower Voltage Boosters Simplify Energy Harvesting - [Link]