Environmental energy harvesting is a possible source of power for Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes but needs careful management. Unless harvesters based on solar or thermal technology, for example, are designed to be compatible with conventional circuits, DC/DC converters need to be optimized for low-voltage inputs.
Sensor nodes for the Internet of Things often need to placed well away from a reliable power source but operate for many years. Although long storage-life batteries provide one option for powering these devices, an increasingly viable alternative is the use of environmental energy harvesting, using sources such as light, vibration and temperature differentials.
Power Conversion Options for Energy Harvesting IoT Nodes - [Link]
Colin Johnson @ nextgenlog.blogspot.com:
Hybrid solar cells that harvest all of the suns energy, instead of just a few narrow bands, could transform the energy economies worldwide: R. Colin Johnson @EETimes
Hybrid Solar Cells Promise 95% Efficiency - [Link]
In a bid to bring affordable solar technology to the market by 2017, IBM Research and Airlight Energy (Switzerland) have partnered to produce a solar parabolic dish that can concentrate the sun’s radiation by 2,000 times and convert 80% of it into useful energy. The system is said to be able to generate 12 kW of electrical power and 20 kW of heat under sunny conditions, and will be capable of providing both power and hot water/air conditioning to several homes.
IBM ‘sunflower’ solar concentrator produces energy and hot water - [Link]
This Arduino Nano controlled solar battery charger can charge a standard lead acid 12V battery and runs with 90% efficiency under 70ᵒC (158ᵒF). The circuit can take up to 24V input from the solar panels. The maximum power point tracking is implemented in the circuit by measuring the output voltage and current from the solar panel to get the maximum possible power from it.
Solar battery charge controller - [Link]
This application note describes a DC-to-AC converter design, specifically targeted at converting highly variable energy from a solar panel into a form that can be directly connected to the power grid. This emphasizes on the control design and how PSoC 5LP is employed for a particular power topology.
Solar microinverter - [Link]
by Boris Landoni:
This robot will mow the grass of your garden, staying within a defined area, avoiding all obstacles and working in complete autonomy, automatically charging itself with a solar panel.
In this post we present a robotic lawn mower, powered with solar energy and able to operate just with the clean energy from the sun; this one is a great difference from the commercial projects having a robot in need of a charging station connected to the electrical grid.
A Robotic lawn mower powered by Solar Energy with an Arduino heart - [Link]
Here’s a cool Solar scare mosquito project by Gallactronics. He writes:
So I built a device that generates air bubbles at regular intervals and effectively produces ripples up to a radius of 2 meters (sufficient for most urban water bodies). The device automatically switches on when it comes in contact with water an alarm alerts if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from water. At less than $10, the device is cost effective and being solar powered, it is energy independent and maintenance-free.
Solar scare mosquito - [Link]
kurtscottage @ youtube.com writes:
In this video I’m showing you how I built some solar panels from start to finish I tried to make it as detailed as possible. These panels cost me very little to build and are fun projects for everyone. This is just one way of doing this there are lot’s of others doing this and good videos out there. Presently I’m using my panels at a job site where there is no electricity available they are running my RV off the grid. These panels are not encapsulated but they work well and low cost not for on roof installation best to be close to ground for inspection.
Homemade Solar Panels Diy tutorial - [Link]
Over 90 % of the worlds solar cells are made from silicon but they are not particularly efficient at converting light to energy. They are made from layers of high purity crystal more than 150 micrometers thick which is costly to produce. Thin-film solar cells are an alternative technology; they convert the sun’s energy using a more efficient semiconductor process and can get similar efficiency using lower purity material that is only 2 micrometers thick. This results in much lower production costs.
The majority of thin-film cells are made from a sandwich of cadmium telluride and cadmium sulfide (CdTe/CdS) which, thanks to recent advances are now approaching the efficiency of silicon cells. The problem with this technology is that cadmium based products are extremely harmful to living organisms. Researchers at Liverpool University in the UK have discovered that magnesium chloride is a good alternative to cadmium chloride. It is extracted from sea water and has uses such as road de-icing and as a coagulant for tofu, the vegan protein foodstuff based on soy milk.
Vegan Additive makes Non-toxic Solar Cells - [Link]
mjlorton @ youtube.com writes: In this video I go through the components that are part of a solar power solution. I explain the differences between On-grid vs. off grid.
How to Solar Power Your Home / House #1 – On Grid vs Off Grid - [Link]