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Technology Focus series: Vibration based energy harvesters and railways

Vibration based Energy Harvesters convert mechanical vibration into electrical energy. The railway industry can use vibration-based harvesters to power sensors located in the infrastructure and the train. This technology can decrease dependency on the gridline and create a wider system.

Vibration based Energy Harvesters (VEH) consist of electromagnetic (EM) and piezoelectric based harvesters (PE), both converting mechanical vibration into electrical energy. PE have high commercial availability while EM can function on lower frequencies with higher current and power levels. The energy acquired by vibrations is often used to power sensors, measuring performance parameters and enabling the management of systems. VEH are often organised in Wireless Sensors Network (WSN) in remotely placed systems with consistent vibration, reasonably fixed frequency and high amplitude. This technology is important because it can acquire data with minimal power, by operating on an event-driven sleep mode.

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