An ocean kinetic energy converter for low-power applications using piezoelectric disk elements

C. Viñolo, D. Toma, A. Mànuel, and J. del Rio – The European Physical Journal Special Topics, September 2013


The main problem facing long-term electronic system deployments in the sea, is to find a feasible way to supply them with the power they require. Harvesting mechanical energy from the ocean wave oscillations and converting it into electrical energy, provides an alternative method for creating self-contained power sources. However, the very low and varying frequency of ocean waves, which generally varies from 0.1 Hz to 2 Hz, presents a hurdle which has to be overcome if this mechanical energy is to be harvested. In this paper, a new sea wave kinetic energy converter is described using low-cost disk piezoelectric elements, which has no dependence on their excitement frequency, to feed low-consumption maritime-deployed electronic devices. The operating principles of the piezoelectric device technique are presented, including analytical formulations describing the transfer of energy. Finally, a prototypical design, which generates electrical energy from the motion of a buoy, is introduced. The paper concludes with the the behavior study of the piezoelectric prototype device as a power generator.



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