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Hybrid Energy Harvesting Device for Generating Electricity

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new hybrid energy harvesting device that generates electricity from either heat or light. With this single device, it is possible to derive energy from two separate sources, which previously could only be handled by combining individual devices.
Furthermore, because the cost of the hybrid device is economical, this technology paves the way to the widespread use of highly efficient energy harvesting devices...
Read the full press release at Fujitsu.com

Excerpts fron Fujitsu's Press release

Kawasaki, Japan, December 9, 2010 — Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new hybrid energy harvesting device that generates electricity from either heat or light. With this single device, it is possible to derive energy from two separate sources, which previously could only be handled by combining individual devices. Furthermore, because the cost of the hybrid device is economical, this technology paves the way to the widespread use of highly efficient energy harvesting devices. The new technology has great potential in the area of energy harvesting, which converts energy from the surrounding environment to electricity. Since there is no need for electrical wiring or battery replacements, this development could enable the use of sensors in previously unserved applications and regions. It also has great potential for powering a variety of sensor networks and medical-sensing technologies.

About Energy Harvesting
Energy harvesting is the process for collecting energy from the surrounding environment and converting it to electricity, and is gaining interest as a future next-generation energy source. Conventionally, electricity is supplied by either a power plant or a battery, requiring electrical wiring and replacement batteries. In recent years, the idea of using ambient energy in the forms of light, vibration, heat, radio waves, etc. has become increasingly attractive, and a number of methods to produce electricity from these different kinds of energy sources have been developed. Energy harvesting technology would eliminate the need for replacing batteries and power cords.

Results
Until now, photovoltaic cells - which generate electricity from light, and thermoelectric devices - which generate electricity from temperature differentials, have only been available as separate devices. This new technology from Fujitsu Laboratories doubles the energy-capture potential through the use of both ambient heat and light in a single device. In medical fields, for example, the technology could be used in sensors that monitor conditions such as body temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeats - without batteries and electrical wiring. If either the ambient light or heat is not sufficient to power the sensor, this technology can supply power with both sources, by augmenting one source with the other. In addition, the technology can also be used for environmental sensing in remote areas for weather forecasting, where it would be problematic to replace batteries or run electric lines.

Additional information: Read the full press release at Fujitsu.com
December 9, 2010
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