The project proposal aims to develop hybrid electromchanical and thermoelectric generators prototypes for human body energy harvesting. We know that the human body can convert only 20% of the entire food calorie energy for movement and the rest of the energy is released in form of heat. From several estimations we have concluded that we always can harvest 10 W from total body movement and heat loss (90W ideally without any losses). I have chosen the approach to combine the best piezoelectric and pyroelectric materials (BaTiO3 and PZT) with the most promising (and cheap) thermoelectric ones (SnS, SnSe, BiSb, ZnSb) in order to obtain a much more efficient microgenerator array assembly. In the first stage we will prepare bulk samples (and structures) and check their piezoelectric, pyroelectric and thermoelectric properties. At a second stage we will manufacture thin film arrays with different geometries. The goal is to have the highest body energy conversion per unit volume (or surface) and to obtain also flexible, wearable MEMS devices.
Current project leader has tested the direct and inverse effect of piezoelectric materials and has fabricated some bulk piezoceramic (PZT) or polymer doped structures (arrays, stacks, rotary and linear micomotors).
With this already build (bulk) configurations experience we will start from a TRL 2 level and at the end of the project we expect to reach at least a TRL 4 to 5 level, we will have other types of functional and experimental models, with specific working parameters established. Four hybrid MEMS generators prototypes will be manufactured in the project and then integrated in 1 adaptive electronic power supply assembly that will be used for a health monitoring sensors system. A supercapacitor buffer will be realized and used to store the converted electrical energy.
An important application that results from this project is the emergency power source that can be used directly to power a small emergency radio transmitter.
Another application is to use this hybrid power supply to power up small sensors, mainly for astronauts body health monitoring or for space suit monitoring system.