Explore a "Live" Energy Harvesting Design

by Mike Donnelly
9 May 2018

In a previous blog post, I provided a number of Energy Harvesting example designs that could be modeled and simulated in PartQuest Explore. These included electrodynamic, thermal and solar energy harvesting for Industrial IoT and Automotive applications. Subsequent to that posting, we added a rich new capability to PartQuest Explore, "Live Designs". This unique capability supports embedding simulation-ready designs directly into any on-line content, such as articles, application notes, educational material, or even blogs! Readers can not only view the design and existing simulation results, but they can also change key parameter values and run new simulations and immediately see the results of those changes. So I thought it would be fun, for you the reader, to take that for a spin!

Kinetic Energy Harvesting

This first example shows an electrodynamic-based Kinetic EH System that could be used to extract energy from the vibration of an industrial motor or transformer.

This design contains mechanical, magnetic and electronic circuit elements, with energy conservation and cross-discipline dynamic interactions automatically included in the system model. The reader can directly specify the physical or behavioral characteristics of many of the components, including the mass of the armature, the stiffness of the resonant spring, the cross sectional area of the magnetic core, the number of winding turns, the resistor and capacitor values, as well as the set-point and drop-out voltage of the linear regulator.

In the nominal simulation results displayed on the schematic, the upper right waveform viewer shows the initial start-up of the system, with the amplitude of the external vibration source of 0.07 mm peak at 60 Hz, equivalent to a peak acceleration of 1 g. The nominal armature spring-mass resonance frequency is 60 Hz, and the armature displacement is seen to reach the frame's travel limit of 10 mm peak-to-peak!

In the upper left, the waveform viewer is zoomed-in near the 1 sec. simulation time mark. It shows the time-varying core flux density and winding voltage, as the two air-gaps expand and contract with armature displacement, rapidly changing the magnetic flux path's effective reluctance value. In the lower right waveform viewer, the DC output voltage from the Schottky diode full-wave rectifier and the linear regulator output voltage are observed. The periodic disturbance is caused by the switched load being applied to the system.

Since this is a Live Design, you can go ahead and double-click on any of the components that have parameter values highlighted in blue. You can make changes to those values then press the green "play" arrow to run a new simulation and see the results. Have fun!