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A Review of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Based on Vibration

Article  in  International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing · December 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s12541-011-0151-3


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DOI: 10.1007/s12541-011-0151-3

A Review of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Based

on Vibration
Heung Soo Kim1, Joo-Hyong Kim2 and Jaehwan Kim3,#
1 Department of Mechanical, Robotics and Energy Engineering, Dongguk University-Seoul, 26 Pil-dong 3-Ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 100-715
2 Department of Electronic Engineering, Chosun University, 375 Seosuk-dong, Dong-gu, Gwangju, South Korea, 501-759
3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Inha University, 253 Yonghyun-dong, Nam-ku, Incheon, South Korea, 402-751
# Corresponding Author / E-mail: jaehwan@inha.ac.kr, TEL: +82-32-860-7326, FAX: +82-32-832-7325

KEYWORDS: Energy Harvesting, Piezoelectric, Vibration, Energy generation, Micro Power

This paper reviews energy harvesting technology from mechanical vibration. Recent advances on ultralow power portable
electronic devices and wireless sensor network require limitless battery life for better performance. People searched for
permanent portable power sources for advanced electronic devices. Energy is everywhere around us and the most important
part in energy harvesting is energy transducer. Piezoelectric materials have high energy conversion ability from mechanical
vibration. A great amount of researches have been conducted to develop simple and efficient energy harvesting devices from
vibration by using piezoelectric materials. Representative piezoelectric materials can be categorized into piezoceramics and
piezopolymers. This paper reviews key ideas and performances of the reported piezoelectric energy harvesting from
vibration. Various types of vibration devices, piezoelectric materials and mathematical modeling of vibrational energy
harvestings are reviewed.

Manuscript received: October 25, 2011 / Accepted: November 8, 2011

1. Introduction harvesting plants generate kW or MW level power, it is called

macro energy harvesting technology. On the contrast, micro energy
Energy harvesting is defined as capturing minute amounts of harvesting technology is focused on the alternatives of the
energy from one or more of the surrounding energy sources, conventional battery. Micro energy harvesting technology is based
accumulating them and storing them for later use. Energy on mechanical vibration, mechanical stress and strain, thermal
harvesting is also called as power harvesting or energy scavenging. energy from furnace, heaters and friction sources, sun light or room
With recent advances on wireless and MEMS technology, energy light, human body, chemical or biological sources, which can
harvesting is highlighted as the alternatives of the conventional generate mW or µW level power. In this paper, the energy
battery. Ultra low power portable electronics and wireless sensors harvesting is limited to micro energy harvesting.
use the conventional batteries as their power sources, but the life of Since piezoelectric material can convert mechanical vibration
the battery is limited and very short compared to the working life of into electrical energy with very simple structure, piezoelectric
the devices. The replacement or recharging of the battery is energy harvesting is highlighted as a self-power source of wireless
inefficient and sometimes impossible. Therefore, a great amount of sensor network system.1 Piezoelectricity represents pressure
researches have been conducted about the energy harvesting electricity and is a property of certain crystalline materials such as
technology as a self-power source of portable devices or wireless quartz, Rochelle salt, tourmaline, and barium titanate that develop
sensor network system. electricity when pressure is applied.2 This is called the direct effect.
In the view point of energy conversion, human beings have On the other hand, these crystals undergo deformation when an
already used energy harvesting technology in the form of windmill, electric field is applied, which is termed as the converse effect.
watermill, geothermal and solar energy. The energy came from Converse effect can be used as an actuator and direct effect can be
natural sources, called renewable energy, is emerged as future used as a sensor or energy transducer. The coupled electro-
power source due to limited fossil fuel and nuclear power instability mechanical behavior of piezoelectric materials can be modeled by
such as Fukusima nuclear crisis. Since the renewable energy two linearized constitutive equations.2

© KSPE and Springer 2011


Table 1 Piezoelectric characteristics2

Fig. 1 Comparison of the energy density for the three types of

mechanical to electrical energy converters9

Direct piezoelectric effect:

Di = eijσ E j + dimd σ m

Converse piezoelectric effect:

ε k = d cjk E j + Skm

where vector D is the dielectric displacement in N/mV or C/m2,

Fig. 2 Exploded view showing integration of piezo shoe10

ε k is the strain vector, E is the applied electric field vector in


volts/meter, and σ m is stress vector in N/m2. The piezoelectric

constants are the piezoelectric coefficients d imd and d cjk in m/V or
C/N, the dielectric permittivity eσ in N/V2 or F/m, and S km
is the
elastic compliance matrix in m /N. The superscripts c and d refer to
the converse and direct effects, respectively, and the superscript σ
and E indicate that the quantity is measured at constant stress and
constant electric field, respectively.
(a) 31-Mode
Representative piezoelectric materials can be categorized into
piezoceramics and piezopolymers. Piezoceramics have large
electro-mechanical coupling constants and provide high energy
conversion rate, but they are too brittle to use general shape energy
transducer. On the other hand, piezopolymers have smaller electro-
mechanical coupling constants compared to the piezoceramics, but
they are very flexible. Table 1 shows material characteristics of
(b) 33-Mode
representative piezoceramics (PZT-5H, PZT-8) and piezopolymer
(polyvinylidene fluoride, PVDF). Based on direct piezoelectricity,
many research works have been conducted for piezoelectric energy
harvesting from mechanical vibration.3-8 This paper reviews
piezoelectric energy harvesting technology from mechanical (c) Compression strain along 3-axis
Fig. 3 Conventional axis definition for a PZT material11

2. Energy harvesting with piezoceramics piezoelectric energy harvesting using low profile transducers and
the results for various energy harvesting prototype devices. He also
In this section, vibrational energy harvesting with gave a brief discussion on selection of piezoelectric materials for on
piezoceramics are reviewed. Various types of vibration devices, and off resonance applications. According to his theoretical
single crystal piezoelectric materials and mathematical modeling of calculation, the energy density of piezoelectric energy harvesting
vibrational energy harvestings are described in the followings. devices is 3-5 times higher than electrostatic and electromagnetic
Priya9 provided a review of a comprehensive coverage of the devices (Fig. 1).

Paradiso et al.10 proposed parasitic power harvesting from

piezoelectric shoes using unimorph strip made from piezoceramic
composite material and a stave made from a multilayer laminate of
PVDF foil that periodically broadcasts a digital RFID as the bearer
walks (Fig. 2). They further explored the harnessing of parasitic
energy from piezoelectric shoes and used simple mechanical
structures and flexible piezoelectric materials which results a
comfortable piezoelectric shoe design (Fig. 3).11
Fig. 4 A two-layer bender mounted as a cantilever15

2.1 Cantilever type

A cantilever type vibration energy harvesting has very simple
structure and can produce a large deformation under vibration.
Flynn and Sander12 imposed fundamental limitations on PZT (lead
zirconate titanate) material and indicated that mechanical stress
limit is the effective constraint in typical PZT materials. They
reported that a mechanical stress-limited work cycle was 330W/cm3
(a) Cantilever type
at 100 kHz for PZT-5H.
Elvin et al.13 proposed a theoretical model by using a beam
element and performed experiment to harvest power from PZT
material. They showed that a simple beam bending can provide the
self-power source of the strain energy sensor.
Wright et al. presented series of vibrational energy harvesting
devices.14-17 First, they indicated low-level vibrations occurring in
common household and office environments as a potential power
source and investigated both capacitive MEMS and piezoelectric (b) Cymbal type24
converters.14 The simulated results showed that power harvesting Fig. 5 Conventional piezoelectric energy harvesters
using piezoelectric conversion is significantly higher. They
optimized a two-layer cantilever piezoelectric generator and external vibrational energy source can create electrical energy via
validated by theoretical analysis (Fig. 4).15 They also modeled a the piezoelectric effect. The effect of proof mass, beam shape and
small cantilever based devices using piezoelectric materials that can damping on the power generating performance were modeled to
scavenge power from low-level ambient vibration sources and provide guideline for maximum power harvesting from
presented new design configuration to enhance the power environmentally available low frequency vibrations.
harvesting capacity.16 It used axially compressed piezoelectric
bimorph in order to decrease resonance frequency up to 24%. They 2.2 Cymbal type
found that power output to be 65–90% of the nominal value at Cymbal structure can produce a large in-plane strain under a
frequencies 19–24% below the unloaded resonance frequency.17 transverse external force, which is beneficial for the micro energy
Inman’s group presented more than 10 papers related to harvesting. Kim et al.23 reported that piezoelectric energy
vibrational energy harvesting using PZT, bimorph Quick Pack (QP) harvesting showed a promising results under pre-stress cyclic
actuator and micro fiber composite (MFC). Sodano et al.18 conditions and validated the experimental results with finite
investigated monolithic piezoelectric (PZT) and MFC and estimated element analysis. Li et al.24 presented a two ring-type piezoelectric
the efficiency of both the materials. They also investigated three stacks, one pair of bow-shaped elastic plates, and one shaft that pre-
types of piezoelectric devices experimentally, a monolithic PZT, compresses them (Fig. 5). The reported that flex-compressive mode
bimorph QP and MFC energy harvesting devices to determine their piezoelectric transducer has the ability to generate more electric
capacity to recharge a discharged battery.19 voltage output and power output as compared to conventional flex-
Shen et al.20 proposed a PZT piezoelectric cantilever with a tensional mode.
micromachined Si proof mass for a low frequency vibration energy
harvesting application. The average power and power density were 2.3 Stack type
0.32 W and 416 W/cm3. Liu et al.21 developed an array of power Stack type piezoelectric transducer can produce a large
generator based on thick-film piezoelectric cantilevers in order to electrical energy since it uses d33 mode of piezoelectric materials
improve frequency flexibility and power output. They reported an and has a large capacitance because of multi-stacking of
improved performance of 3.98 mW effective electrical power and piezoelectric material layers. Adhikari et al.25 proposed a stochastic
3.93 DC output voltage to resistance load. Choi et al.22 developed approach using stack configuration rather than cantilever beam
an energy harvesting MEMS device using thin film PZT to enable harmonic excitation at resonance and analyzed two cases, with
self-supportive sensors. Resonating at specific frequencies of an inductor in the electrical circuit and without inductor. Lefeuvre et

single degree of freedom base excitation model and examined that

the single degree of freedom harmonic base excitation relations
which are commonly used by a number of researcher for harvesting
energy using mechanical vibration.31 They also reported a closed-
form analytical solutions of bimorph cantilever configurations with
series and parallel connections of piezoceramic layers.32
Marqui et al.33 presented a electromechanically coupled finite
element (FE) plate model based on Kirchhoff plate assumptions that
also account the effect of conductive electrodes to predict the
electrical power output of piezoelectric energy harvester plates. The
FEA simulation results are validated with the experimental and
Fig. 6 Model of a vibrating structure including a piezoelectric
analytical solution for a unimorph cantilever beam.
Renno et al.34 optimized the piezoelectric vibration-based
energy harvester by using an inductor and a resistive load and it is
concluded that the addition of a inductor in the circuit enhances the
power harvesting capacity.
Pouline et al.35 compared an electromagnetic system made of a
magnet in translation within a coil and piezoelectric system which
is a PZT ceramic bar embedded at one end and constrained at the
other end. They predicted a strong similarity and duality in signal
Fig. 7 Curved PZT unimorph excited in d31-mode by a normal Ajitsaria et al.36 anticipated analytical approach based on Euler–
distributed force27 Bernoulli beam theory and Timoshenko beam equations for the
generation of voltage and power. They showed that the comparison
al.26 proposed a synchronized switch damping (SSD) in vibrational between the experimental results and simulation were satisfactory.
piezoelectric energy harvesting (Fig. 6). They claimed that SSD Hu et al.37 proposed a modeling of a piezoelectric harvester as
increases the electrically converted energy resulting from the an integrated electro-mechanical system, by characterizing the
piezoelectric mechanical loading cycle. This stack type can be weak interaction between the harvesting structure and the storage circuit
under mechanical shocks. with a nonlinear rectifier. They showed that the power density can
be maximized by varying the non-dimensional inductance for a
2.4 Shell type fixed non-dimensional aspect ratio together with a fixed non-
Since shell structure can generate larger strain than flat plate, it dimensional end mass.
can improve the efficiency of piezoelectric energy harvesting. Yoon Shu and Lien38 calculated the energy conversion efficiency
et al.27 employed a curved piezoceramic to increase the charge under steady state condition for a rectified piezoelectric power
because of mechanical strain (Fig. 7). They optimized the analytical harvester. They found that optimization criteria depend upon the
model using shell theory and linear piezoelectric constitutive relative strength of the electromechanical coupling.
equations to develop a charge generation expression. Yoon et al.28 Marzencki et al.39 proposed a passive, wideband adaptive
investigated a ring-shaped PZT-5A element exposed to gunfire system by employing mechanical nonlinear strain stiffening. They
shock experimentally using pneumatic shock machine. They found reported experimentally verified frequency adaptability of over
dependence of piezoelectric constant on load-rate, the shock-aging 36% for a clamped–clamped beam device at 2 g input acceleration.
of piezoelectric effect, and the dependence of energy-transfer They claimed that the proposed solution was perfectly suited for
efficiency on the change in normalized impulse. Chen et al.29 autonomous industrial machinery surveillance systems, where high
analyzed circular piezoelectric shell of polarized ceramics under amplitude vibrations are abundant.
torsional vibration to harvest electric output. The proposed structure Dietl et al.40 proposed a Timoshenko model of transverse
harvested electrical energy from torsional vibration. piezoelectric beam to overcome the over predicted parameter values
in Euler–Bernoulli beam models. They reported the exact
2.5 Modeling and theory expressions for the voltage, current, power, and tip deflection of the
Theoretical modeling of piezoelectric energy harvesting devices piezoelectric beam. They also optimized the shapes of beam for
should include not only its structure but also piezoelectric coupling harvesting power using heuristic optimization code and the
effect as well as electrical behavior. Erturk and Inman30 proposed attributes of this optimal beam was validated with the experimental
an improved mathematical model and made an attempt to correct results.41
the oversimplified issues related to mathematical formulation like Gammaitoni et al.42 modeled piezoelectric harvesting oscillator
piezoelectric coupling, physical modeling, low fidelity models and dynamics with nonlinear stochastic differential equation and
base motion modeling. They also proposed correction factors for highlighted the benefit of noise and non-linearity.

Gao et al.43 analyzed a piezoelectric unimorph cantilever with

unequal piezoelectric and nonpiezoelectric lengths for vibration
energy harvesting theoretically. They found that for a fixed
vibration frequency, the maximum open circuit induced voltage
occurred when nonpiezoelectric-to-piezoelectric length ratio is
greater than unity while the maximum power occurred when
nonpiezoelectric-to-piezoelectric length ratio is unity.
Knight et al.44 presented a guideline to extract an optimal
energy harvesting for interdigitated piezoelectric MEMS unimorph
cantilever beams. They showed that poling behavior was the key
factor to investigate the real losses associated with non-uniform
poling. A parametric study in terms of electrode patterns,
piezoelectric layer dimensions, and electrode dimensions was
carried out to examine their effect on the percent poling factor.
They proposed design guidelines to help ensure that piezoelectric
MEMS devices are developed to obtain optimum energy harvesting Fig. 8 Geometry and position of the neutral axis of PCGE-A55
or tuning performance.
Ly et al.45 developed a piezoelectric cantilever bending model conventional piezoceramic processing methods corresponding to
of 31-effect under the assumption of the Euler–Bernoulli Beam high energy density piezoelectric composition 0.9Pb(Zr0.56
Theory. The equations of motion for the global system were Ti0.44)O3–0.1Pb[(Zn0.8/3 Ni0.2/3)Nb2/3]O3 + 2 mol% MnO2
established by using Hamilton’s principle and solved by using the (PZTZNN) and 0.8[Pb(Zr0.52Ti0.48)O3]–0.2[Pb(Zn1/3 Nb2/3)O3]
modal decomposition method. They provided the mathematical (PZTPZN). They concluded that power harvesting largely depended
model to enhance the conversion of mechanical energy into upon piezoelectric strain constant and the piezoelectric voltage
electrical energy by using direct piezoelectric effect. They showed constant.
that second mode of resonant frequency provided the voltage and Ren et al.51 presented a multilayer structure used as the
the bandwidth much larger than the first mode. resonance-based vibration energy-harvesting device based on
Richards et al.46 emphasized on the efficiency of power 0.71Pb(Mg1/3 Nb2/3)O3–0.29PbTiO3 (PMN-PT) single crystal. They
conversion and developed a formula to predict the power found a high output power of 4.94 mW and a corresponding peak
conversion efficiency of different piezo generators. voltage of 3.14 V measured at 1.4 kHz which highlighted the
potential of the material for energy harvesting.
2.6 Single crystal Moon et al.52 presented the piezoelectric energy harvesting
Erturk et al.47 analyzed single crystal piezoelectric ceramic lead performance of a Zr-doped PbMg1/3Nb2/3O3-PbTiO3 (PMN-PZT)
magnesium niobate–lead zirconate titanate (PMN-PZT) power single crystal beam. The energy harvesting capability of a PMN-
generation and shunt damping performance with the help of PZT beam cantilever structure under a state of vibration was
experiment and validated the results analytically. calculated and compared with experimental result of frequency
Karami et al.48 examined different configuration of three types response of cantilever device.
of piezoelectrics (single crystal PMN-PZT, polycrystalline PZT-5A,
and PZT-5H-type monolithic ceramics) in a unimorph cantilevered 2.7 New materials
beam to find the best design configuration for lightweight energy Jeong et al.53 investigated piezoelectric ceramics with
harvesting devices for low-power applications. They concluded that microstructure texture experimentally prepared by tape casting of
single-crystal energy harvesters produced superior power compared slurries containing a template SrTiO3 (STO), under external
with polycrystalline devices. mechanical stress. They concluded that STO-added specimens
Rakbamrung et al.49 attempted performance comparison showed excellent power over the STO-free specimen when a high
between two common piezoelectric compositions, PZT + 1 mol% stress was applied to the specimen.
Mn and PMN–25PT, obtained from sintering piezoelectric powders. Elfrink et al.54 analyzed aluminum nitride (AlN) as a
The PMN–PT showed higher coupling coefficient than the PZT- piezoelectric material for piezoelectric energy harvesters because of
based sample, making such a composition a better choice for energy their high resulting voltage level. They reported a maximum output
harvesting purposes at a first glance. Although PMN–PT-based power of 60 µW for an unpackaged device at an acceleration of 2.0
harvester effectively allowed harvesting approximately twice the g and at a resonance frequency of 572 Hz.
power of PZT-based device when using a classical electrical Tien and Goo55 analyzed a piezocomposite composed of layers
interface, the use of a nonlinear approach for enhancing the of carbon/epoxy, PZT ceramic and glass/epoxy to harvest energy
conversion abilities of piezoelectric elements dramatically reduced (Fig. 8). They reported that piezocomposite have potential to
the difference between the considered micro-generators. harvest energy subjected to vibration after numerical and
Bedekar et al.50 fabricated piezoelectric bimorph samples using experimental validation.

2.8 Others
Fang et al.56 proposed micro piezoelectric power generator
containing a composite cantilever with nickel metal mass. They
fabricated the proposed device by RIE dry etching, wet chemical
etching and UV-LIGA. The proposed generator produced about
0.89V AC peak–peak voltage output to overcome germanium diode
rectifier toward energy storage, and its power output was in
microwatt level of 2.16 mW.
Twiefel et al.57 investigated the piezoelectric flexural
transducers for harvesting power experimentally. They employed Fig. 9 A piezoelectric film-based power generator60
working frequency and electrical load as boundary conditions for
the development of the generator in analytical model.
Isarakorn et al.58 focused on the fabrication and evaluation of
vibration energy harvesting devices by utilizing an epitaxial PZT
thin film. The experimentally investigation and analytical
calculations were compared and the epitaxial PZT harvester
exhibited high power and current with usable voltage. These results
indicated the potential of epitaxial PZT thin films for the
improvement of the performances of energy harvesting devices.
In summary, many configurations of energy harvesting devices
made with piezoceramics have been developed to improve the
efficiency and power generation. Modeling of the piezoceramic
energy harvesting devices is well established. Single crystal
piezoelectric materials are promising for energy harvesting since it Fig. 10 Schematic of the backpack with piezoelectric straps61
has high coupling coefficients.

3. Energy harvesting with piezopolymers

Mateu and Moll59 analyzed several bending beam structures

using piezo films suitable for shoe inserts and walking-type
excitation, and obtained the resulting strain for each type in
function of geometrical parameters and material properties. By
comparing the energy harvested, the optimum configuration can be
determined. They developed piezoelectric film inserts inside a shoe
based on their first work (Fig. 9).60 In this paper, they analyzed
different factors, such as piezoelectric type, magnitude of excitation,
required energy and voltage, and magnitude of the capacitor, to find Fig. 11 (a) Schematic view, (b) general FE-SEM image, and (c)
an appropriate choice of storage capacitor and voltage intervals. lateral FE-SEM image of A1N microgenerator63
Farinholt et al.61 developed a novel energy harvesting backpack
that can generate electrical energy from the differential forces conditions.64 They found that the output power of generators
between the wearer and the backpack by using PVDF (Fig. 10). ‘‘unpackaged in vacuum’’ was almost twice that of generators
They also proposed an energy harvesting comparison of PVDF and ‘‘packaged in air’’ at 0.5g acceleration. And also with the increase
the ionically conductive ionic polymer transducer to examine the in vibration acceleration, the output power of generators
effectiveness of electro-mechanical conversion properties.62 ‘‘unpackaged in vacuum’’ rapidly increased in a quadratic
Analytical models using spring-mass-damper for each material relationship with the acceleration at low acceleration level, and then
assuming axial loading and simulation results were compared with the increasing ratio decreased at high acceleration.
experimental results. Lallart et al.65 evaluated the energy scavenging abilities of
Kuwano et al.63 used AlN thin films on Si substrates with electrostrictive terpolymer composite filled with 1 vol% carbon
diverse bottom electrode materials of Pt/Ti, Au/Cr, Al, and Ti to black poly(vinylidene – fluoride – trifluoroethylene –
fabricate microgenerators by the micromachining process for chlorofluoroethylene). They also demonstrated that the carbon-
converting environmental vibration energy into electric energy (Fig. filled terpolymer outperformed other investigated compositions,
11). They also studied the effect of the air damping on the vibration exhibiting a figure of merit as high as 2000 times higher than pure
of energy harvesting PVDF generators in three measurement polyurethane. They extended their work to the ac-dc conversion for

energy harvesting using electrostrictive polymer P(VDF-TrFE-

CFE) to make the practical application of such material for self-
powerd devices more realistic.66 Their theoretical and experimental
analysis showed that an energy harvesting module with ac-to-dc
conversion using a bias electric field of 10V/µm and a transverse
strain of 0.2% is much more efficient than most of piezo-based
Shah et al.67 compared micropower obtained by harvesting
generators using piezoelectric ceramic (PZT), PVDF
(polyvinylidene fluoride) membrane and PP (polypropylene) foam
polymer. They also evaluated the voltage response of ceramic based
piezoelectric fiber composite structures (PFCs) and polymer based
piezoelectric strips, PVDF, when subjected to various wind speeds
and water droplets in order to investigate the possibility of energy Fig. 12 Energy conversion efficiency of a piezoelectric PVDF
generation from these two natural renewable energy sources for nanogenerator72
utilization in low power electronic devices.68 They showed that
piezoelectric polymer materials can generate higher voltage/power
than ceramic based piezoelectric materials and it was possible to
produce energy from renewable sources such as rain drops and
wind by using piezoelectric polymer materials.
Sohn et al.69 adopted FEM to evaluate the power harvesting
capacity of piezofilm that were under the action of a blood pressure
and analyzed theoretically for square and circular configuration.
Hu et al.70 proposed a corrugated PVDF bimorph power
harvester with the harvesting structure fixed at the two edges in the
corrugation direction and free at the other edges. In order to keep
the harvester operating at the optimal state, they adjusted the
resonant frequency by changing the geometrical configuration or
the span length. They reported that the adaptability of a harvester to
the operating system could be improved greatly by designing the
harvesting structure with adjustable resonant.
Liu71 presented an active energy harvesting approach which Fig. 13 A prototype tree-shaped wind power system77
used switch-mode power electronics to control the voltage and/or
charge on a piezoelectric device relative to the mechanical input for found that it increased with increasing strain, which was favorable
optimized energy conversion. In these experiments, the active for vibration energy harvesting.
energy harvesting approach increased the harvested energy by a Chang75 modeled and analyzed Piezo-elastica energy harvester
factor of five for the same mechanical displacement compared to an in computer hard disk drives. Numerical finite element simulations
optimized diode rectifier-based circuit. and laboratory measurements showed that about 25% of the power
Chang et al.72 used near-field electrospinnings to direct-write consumed by disk drive’s voice coil motor could be harvested by
PVDF nanofibers with in situ mechanical stretch and electrical the proposed design. He suggested the possibility of scavenging and
poling characteristics to produce piezoelectric properties (Fig. 12). converting flex cable’s mechanical vibrations and dynamics into
They found that under mechanical stretching, nanogenerators electrical form for power conservation inside computer hard disk
showed repeatable and consistent electrical outputs with energy drives.
conversion efficiency, an order of magnitude higher than those Liu et al.76 proposed a miniature energy harvesting device for
made of PVDF thin films. medical microrobot devised working in blood vessel, specifically
Hansen et al.73 developed hybrid energy scavenging device focusing on fabrication of co-axial nanofibers as converting
consisted of a piezoelectric PVDF nanofiber generator for components from a high efficient piezoelectric material PVDF.
harvesting biomechanical and biochemical energy. They found that Oh77 demonstrated an experimental investigation of a tree-
two type of energy harvesting worked simultaneously or shaped wind power system using piezoelectric material (Fig. 13).
individually, thereby boosting output and life time. PVDF was used to make the leaf element, whereas PZT was applied
Miyabuchi et al.74 modeled the piezoelectric vibration energy to the trunk portion of the tree requiring rather strong winds to
harvester and found that the figure of merit was proportional to the generate any power.
square of the effective transverse piezoelectric coefficient e31. They Koyama and Nakamura78 studied electric power generation
measured e31 coefficient by using the substrate bending method and using vibration of a polyurea thin film. The conversion efficiency

(a) Parallel-flow stalk-leaf (b) Cross-flow stalk-leaf

Fig. 14 Motion sketch of two different structures79

Fig. 16 (a) Full wave-bridge type rectifying circuit for vibrational
Fig. 15 A schematic diagram of the piezoelectric generator in a piezoelectric energy harvester, (b) Synchronous charge extraction
flow field and the concept of placing an elastic beam into the circuit with an inductor L and a switch S26
vortex street to induce vibration80
alternating current (AC) from the piezoelectric elements. Early
from mechanical to electrical energy was calculated by using finite attempt to utilize the piezoelectric energy harvester, power
element analysis of the cantilever configuration. Higher conversion production must be designed with a rectifier. Many different
efficiency was obtained using a thinner and shorter cantilever rectifiers have been suggested and studied: e.g. vacuum tube diodes,
configuration with increased resonance frequency. mercury arc valves, silicon based switches and solid state diodes.
Li79 proposed a bioinspired piezo-leaf architecture which was in However, the simplest way to rectify the alternating input is to
dangling cross-flow stalk that converted wind energy into electrical connect the piezoelectric harvester with a P-N junction diode which
energy by wind-induced fluttering motion (Fig. 14). This kind of can work only in half input wave.83 To obtain full-wave
architecture amplified the vibration by an order of magnitude rectification of vibrating piezoelectric device, a bridge-type with 4
compared with conventional flow- parallel fluttering devices. diodes is required. In order to improve power harvesting circuit
Akaydin et al.80 investigated flexible piezoelectric cantilever efficiency, there are many attempts to modify the rectifying circuit.
beams placed inside turbulent boundary layers and wakes of Using a buck-boost DC-DC converter which can track the power
circular cylinders at high Reynolds numbers and developed three- generator’s dependence with acceleration and vibration frequency
way coupled interaction simulation to validate the experimental of piezoelectric device, the high efficiency of 84% was reported.84
results (Fig. 15). Also, to improve the conversion efficiency of the bridge-type
In summary, the use of piezopolymers for vibrational energy rectifying circuit, the synchronized charge extraction technique with
harvesting is advantageous since piezopolymers are ductile, inductor was introduced,26 resulting the increase of the harvested
resilient to shock, deformable and lightweight. The applications of power by factor 4 (Fig. 16).
piezopolymer based energy harvesters for wind, backpack and
flower demonstrate its possibility in real life. Recently developed 4.1 Synchronized Switch Harvesting on Inductor
piezopaper based on cellulose may be another possibility for energy Guyomer et al.85 analyzed the real energy flow that lay behind
harvesting.81,82 several energy conversion techniques like parallel Synchronized
Switch Harvesting on Inductor (SSHI) and series SSHI for
piezoelectric vibration energy scavenging and introduced
4. Energy harvesting circuit pyroelectric effect which extracts energy due to temperature
variation (Fig. 17). Minazara et al.86 proposed energy generation
The optimized method of vibrational energy harvesting with using a mechanically excited unimorph piezoelectric membrane
piezoelectric materials is very essential to develop a scavenging transducer under dynamic conditions and envisaged a new SSHI to
energy device. In nature, vibrational piezoelectric energy harvesting enhance the power harvested by the piezoelectric transducer up to
devices is based on the induced power from mechanical vibrations 1.7 mW which was sufficient to supply a large range of low
with varying amplitude, resulting induce output voltage with consumption sensors.

(a) Example of electromechanical structures

Fig. 18 Rectifier-free piezoelectric energy harvesting circuit90

(b) Spring-mass damper model85

Fig. 17 Electromechanical structure and model Fig. 19 Two stage rectifying circuit for ultra low input piezoelectric
4.2 Circuits and storages
Ayers et al.87 conducted experiments on PZT ceramics to than built-in voltage of diode to scavenge the vibrational based
collect electrical energy and summarized governing equations for piezoelectric input. To minimize the built-in voltage and improve
piezoelectric. The energy storage using both capacitor and the efficiency in rectifying circuit, Schottky diode with low turn-on
rechargeable batteries was also investigated and findings were made voltage - e. g. HSMS 2822 (VF=0.34V) and Villard voltage doubler
for feasibility and efficiency of battery recharging. were suggested.93
Guan and Liao88 investigated leakage resistances of the energy The application of piezoelectric materials in energy harvesting
storage devices which are the most dominant factor that influences devices contains many parameters which can be optimized to
the charging or discharging phenomena. They proposed a quick test improve the efficiency such that wireless sensors and electronics
method to experimentally study the charge/discharge efficiencies of can be self-powered. Development of low power consumed
the energy storage devices using super capacitors which were electronic circuitry is necessary.
suitable and more desirable than the rechargeable batteries.
Wickenheiser et al.89 investigated the effects of varying degrees
of electromechanical coupling in piezoelectric power harvesting 5. Summary and outlook
systems undergoing base excitation on the dynamics of charging a
storage capacitor. They predicted the charging behavior of the Piezoelectric energy harvesting technologies from vibration
system with nonlinear simulation. were reviewed in this paper. Principles of piezoelectric energy
Recently, a rectifier free piezoelectric energy harvesting circuit harvesting, various types of piezoelectric harvesting devices and
has been suggested by Kim et al. (Fig. 18).90 The suggested circuit piezoelectric materials were investigated. Vibrational energy
was a simple and scalable, which could reach 71% of high harvesting technology is highlighted as a permanent power source
conversion efficiency. Very recently, for ultralow input of portable electronic devices and wireless sensor network.
piezoelectric voltage, Peters et al.91 suggested two stage concept There have been many novel ideas for vibration-based
including passive stage and only one active diode, resulting in piezoelectric energy harvesters. Device ideas in conjunction with
successful rectification of tens of mV with very high efficiency over design technology are likely matured. However, real applications of
90% (Fig. 19). Other approach using a bias-flip rectifier with an the vibration-based energy harvesters are still limited. There are
inductor was presented in the range of µW, which is greater than three issues that limit the broad technological impact of the
4X power extraction compared to conventional full bridge vibration-based piezoelectric energy harvesters. Firstly,
rectifier.92 development of high coupling coefficient piezoelectric materials is
However, due to the fundamental limitation of diode type essential to improve the performance of piezoelectric energy
rectification, built-in voltage in diode, to minimize the voltage drop harvesters. Once the coupling coefficient is twice increased, then
to diminish the rectified output voltage from rectifying circuit in the energy conversion efficiency can be four times improved. Thus,
diode is the critical issue. At room temperature, the built-in voltage the advent of new piezoelectric materials with high coupling
of Si and Ge based P-N junction diodes are about 0.7 V and 0.4 V,93 coefficient will bring a new era of piezoelectric energy harvesters.
respectively. Therefore the induced vibrational input must be larger Secondly, the energy harvesters should be able to sustain under

harsh vibrations and shocks. Fatigue and crack of the energy No. 1, pp. 167-184, 2007.
harvesting devices are crucial for real application. Thus,
10. Kymissis, J., Kendall, C., Paradiso, J. and Gershenfeld, N.,
development of flexible and resilient piezoelectric materials is “Parasitic power harvesting in shoes,” Second International
necessary. Thirdly, development of efficient electronic circuitry for Symposium on Wearable Computers, pp. 132-139, 1998.
energy harvesters is necessary. Since the obtained electrical energy
from vibration is small, rectification and energy storing circuits 11. Shenck, N. S. and Paradiso, J. A., “Energy scavenging with
should be able to activate in such a low power condition. Vibration Shoe-mounted piezoelectrics,” Micro IEEE, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp.
is everywhere, and vibration-based energy harvesters will come to 30-42, 2001.
our real life. 12. Flynn, A. M. and Sanders, S. R., “Fundamental limits on
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 17, No. 1, pp. 8-14, 2002.
13. Elvin, N. G., Elvin, A. A. and Spector, M., “A self-powered
This work was supported by the Energy Efficiency & Resources
mechanical strain energy sensor,” Smart Materials and
of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and
Structures, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 293-299, 2001.
Planning (KETEP) grant founded by the Ministry of Knowledge
Economy, Republic of Korea (no. 2010201010094A) and Creative 14. Roundy, S., Wright, P. K. and Rabaey, J., “A study of low
Research Initiatives (EAPap Actuator) of NRF/MEST. level vibrations as a power source for wireless sensor nodes,”
Computer Communications, Vol. 26, pp. 1131-1144, 2003.
15. Roundy, S. and Wright, P. K., “A piezoelectric vibration
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