Self-sufficient sensors

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Technology Group TEG in Germany have successfully developed a transducer capable of creating electricity from the fluid movement of surrounding air or water.



The technology could enable pressure monitor sensors to supply themselves with energy rather than rely on batteries or wiring. Researchers at the TEG claim that this will reduce the cost and maintenance of sensors used in pneumatic plant.



The process takes place in a fixed housing, through which the medium is directed on a fixed course similar to that of blood circulating in the heart.


This produces a pressure fluctuation in the feedback branches, which in turn affects the piezoceramics. These then convert the fluidic energy into electricity in the microwatt or milliwatt range.


The device has the potential to be used in markets such as medical engineering and can operate in any supply network that uses fluid or gas on a fixed course.


Group leader, Axel Bindel, said: ‘We have the advantage that both air and water can be used to generate energy. What’s more, we don’t have any movable parts in our system. The structure can be produced in simple processes, and that saves costs.’


The fluidic energy transducer will be on display at the joint Fraunhofer stand at the Electronica trade fair in Munich from 11 to 14 November.