In our quest for sustainable and efficient energy solutions, we often overlook the untapped potential that surrounds us. Energy harvesting, a cutting-edge technology, aims to harness and utilize ambient energy sources to power a wide range of applications. This article explores the remarkable world of energy harvesting, delving into its technology, applications, and the dynamic market trends driving its growth.
Understanding Energy Harvesting Technology:
Energy harvesting (also known as power harvesting or energy scavenging) is the process in which energy is captured from a system’s environment and converted into usable electric power. Energy harvesting allows electronics to operate where there’s no conventional power source, eliminating the need to run wires or make frequent visits to replace batteries
Energy harvesting technology involves capturing and converting ambient forms of energy into usable electrical power. It leverages the principles of thermoelectricity, photovoltaics, piezoelectricity, electromagnetic induction, and more. These technologies enable the extraction of energy from sources such as light, heat, vibration, motion, and radio waves, among others.
Energy source examples include light (captured by photovoltaic cells), vibration or pressure (captured by a piezoelectric element), temperature differentials (captured by a thermo-electric generator) radio energy (captured by an antenna); and even biochemically produced energy (such as cells that extract energy from blood sugar).
Advancements in technology, particularly in solar-based methods, have led to improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness in energy harvesting. While each has its advantages, solar energy remains the most potent and widely applicable form of energy harvesting. However, solar energy is not always feasible or practical, especially in environments with limited sun exposure.
For in-depth understanding on Energy Harvesting technology and applications please visit: Energy Harvesting Systems: Technology, Applications and Market Trends
Applications of Energy Harvesting:
The applications of energy harvesting systems are diverse and span across various sectors. Let’s explore some notable examples:
Internet of Things (IoT):
The Internet of Things is an emerging revolution in the ICT sector under which interconnecting physical objects communicate with each other and/or with humans over the internet in order to offer a given service. IoT devices consist of sensors, processing, and communications subsystems that require power which can be provided by batteries, but even sub-Watt sensing assets require large, heavy batteries to operate for extended periods of time.
IoT applications require smart, integrated, miniaturised and low-energy wireless nodes, typically powered by non-renewable energy storage units (batteries). Batteries are considered conventional energy sources yet suffer from several limitations, such as limited lifespan and power efficiency as well as limited energy storage capacity, which necessitates frequent recharging.
Energy harvesting provides an ideal power solution for IoT devices, eliminating the need for batteries or wired connections. Wireless sensors, smart home systems, wearable devices, and asset tracking solutions can all benefit from energy harvesting technologies.
Energy harvesting systems can power wireless sensors for environmental monitoring, occupancy detection, and lighting controls in smart buildings. They enhance energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and contribute to sustainable infrastructure.
In industrial settings, energy harvesting solutions can monitor equipment health, optimize energy consumption, and enable predictive maintenance. Vibration-based energy harvesters can convert machinery vibrations into electricity, powering sensors and reducing downtime.
Energy harvesting can be integrated into transportation infrastructure, capturing energy from road vibrations, vehicle exhaust, and solar radiation. This energy can power roadside sensors, traffic management systems, and even charge electric vehicles.
Energy harvesting enables remote and self-sustaining environmental monitoring systems. For instance, solar-powered weather stations, ocean buoys, and wildlife tracking devices can gather data without the need for frequent battery replacements.
Energy Harvesting Market
The energy harvesting system market is estimated at USD 528 million in 2022, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.3% during 2022–2030, to reach USD 1,076 million by 2030. The growth is likely to be driven by factors, such expanding environmental awareness, favorable governmental policies, targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and rising power consumption. While increasing R&D efforts to create new technologies will accelerate the expansion.
Globally, the market is growing for durable systems that are power efficient and safe, which require very less maintenance. There is a rise in the adoption of wireless sensor networks due to automation in the houses and the green technology that is adopted by the various nations. There is wastage of the environmental energy. The systems that help in capturing this energy and converting it to electrical energy are a boon.
Various research and development activities in the energy harvesting system is leading to the growth of this market. Supportive government policies and increased awareness about the environment. Also, the reduction in the emission of the greenhouse gases has helped in rising the demand for such technologies. An increasing trend of using renewable resources across many nations has created a need for improvement in this technology. In order to supplement the primary source of power to reduce the power interruptions and to increase the reliability of an electronic system, this technology is a boon.
Growing Measures To Reduce Carbon Footprints Drives Market
The increasing amount of GHG emissions, comprising largely of carbon dioxide and the following surge in carbon footprint are the key factors accountable for climate change. Shifting rainfall patterns and rising temperatures are also altering the growing patterns of plants. Rising carbon footprints will pose a significant threat to the global economic system. It is mostly affecting the local economies, dependent on land and natural resources. Due to these negative effects, governments and individuals across the globe are focusing on reducing carbon footprints.
One of the simplest ways to reduce carbon footprint is to minimize the wastage of energy. Such systems have a great potential to minimize the wastage, as it accumulates the wasted energy and converts it into electric current. Consumers might use the tech-based devices for financial benefits, such as the power harvested from renewable sources dramatically lowers electricity bills and shrinks the carbon footprint of an individual. Thus, the growing measures to reduce carbon footprints are expected to push the demand of devices based on these technologies.
Lower Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Overloading of the atmosphere with carbon has adverse effects for people across the globe. When CO2 and other emissions are released into the air, they cause global warming. The primary reason of global warming is human action, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity, drive cars, and operate homes and businesses. It is necessary to reduce the amount of emissions to address global warming. With the usage of renewable sources the only way to tackle global warming, the dependence on fossil fuels is decreasing.
Increasing focus on solar power, wind power and thermal power, along with increasing government initiatives for using renewable sources are the major factors positively impacting the growth, globally. The favorable regulatory framework across geographies, such as new building codes in the European Union, which necessitate augmented insulation practice to diminish energy consumption, have also supported system providers to expand their foothold in the market.
The soaring prices of fossil fuels and expanding use of electric vehicle infrastructure will further lower the dependence of consumers on fossil fuels and likely to bolster the demand of such systems in the coming years.
Growing Demand for Power-Efficient Systems
With increased understanding of the potential pitfalls and feasibilities, the industry is rapidly maturing. The surging role of safe, power-efficient, and robust systems is another key factor facilitating the growth of the market.
Rising demand for alternate bases of power wireless sensing devices has led to many power-foraging solutions from renewable sources. As the technology balances and the supply voltage drops, the intricacy of power foraging circuits rises. It is a key technology for a variety of wireless systems that have limited access to reliable electricity supply. It uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, along with a super-diode to convert the power obtained from conventional sources into electrical energy competently.
A unified MEMS actuator is used to eradicate the loss of efficacy due to the threshold of diodes used to implement electrostatic transducers. A super-diode discards the need for harmonization while snowballing the overall efficiency. For most applications, the MEMS based power systems is a better choice, as it delivers a steadier energy performance over a longer life cycle. All such benefits associated with energy harvesting techniques eventually lead to the high demand for the devices based on these techniques.
Rising Adoption of IoT and Big Data
Technological progressions within the domains of internet of things (IoT) and big data are pushing the demand of low-maintenance autonomously driven wireless sensing devices. Such techniques have the potential to address the demand for such devices. Businesses across various industries are increasingly involved in accumulating and analyzing all categories of real-time customer data.
Energy harvesting is developing well, and IoT and big data concepts have given it a real impetus. It is generally considered as the abstraction of operational power from the atmosphere to decrease or disregard the requirement of external power sources or batteries. Generally, electricity is utilized to achieve some active sensing and to interconnect the sensor data wirelessly over local area network (LAN) or wide-area network (WAN), and wireless communication is being considered as an intrinsic part of the harvesting design. In the coming years, lot of devices are going to be connected to the internet.
Light Is Most Common Source Used by Energy Harvesters in Europe
Light technology generated the highest revenue in the European market in 2022. In Europe, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the U.K. were the major countries to have abundant solar energy.
Light is the most common source being used by harvesters to convert solar into electrical power. However, the massive amount of energy from the spectrum of sunlight is not completely harvested. The sun flashes out nearly 50% in the spectrum band of infrared (IR), but solar cells only harvest visible light. Consequently, solar plates only convert around 20% of solar energy to electricity. Due to this, the harvesters in the region are continuously developing rules to resourcefully manage the power attained from the environment.
Energy harvesters in the region are reviewing, testing, and organizing innovative technologies that empower sensors to use light, thermal, vibration, and electromagnetic energies to power themselves. These are also focusing on hybrid projects to integrate multiple power harvesting and sensing circuitry into individual devices.
Furthermore, one of the recent progresses in the revolutionary growth of solar PV electricity is the advance of floating solar technology. From 72GW in the year 2011 to 843GW in 2021, the capacity of solar PV systems has nearly doubled in the last decade.
In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that for the world to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, solar power capacity must increase by six times from where it is today. For example, the European Union has advocated a major increase in renewable sources, as a way to lessen its dependency on gas and oil.
Based on Technology
The vibration technology segment accounted for the largest revenue share of around 33% in 2021. During the forecast period, the light energy Harvesting segment is expected to generate larger income. A lot of companies are engaged in the production of solar energy based products.
The market for the light energy harvesting segment is rising due to the manufacturing of solar based products along with the increasing efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. The naturally and easily available source of energy is the solar energy, which can be easily converted into electricity. The second largest share of the market will be held by the vibration energy harvesting system, due to the use of piezoelectric devices in various applications in the sector of transportation and industry.
Vibration category is expected to be the most promising technology during the forecast period, with 10.1% CAGR. Researchers from European Research Council are actively practicing new engineering techniques to extract and store power from vibrations as little as the beating of a human heart, opening the way for self-powered pacemakers. Technological developments, both in low-power electronics and communication protocols are enabling wireless sensor networks to be autonomously powered by such technologies
Based on Components
The sensor component segment accounted revenue share of 35% in 2021. The Transducer segment has had a larger market share until now and it is expected to grow during the forecast. The energy harvesting transducer segment is driving the demand of the global market. It is due to the growth in usage of electromechanical transducers to harvest vibration energy.
Transducer Has Been Dominant Component Category
Transducer has been the dominant component category with 57.8% share in 2022. Transducers necessitate the use of suitable high efficiency energy-conversion electronics.
The cost of such transducers is also decreasing and in the coming years, these transducers are expected to replace battery-powered wireless sensors.
Photovoltaic was the largest transducer category, with significant share in 2022. The largest revenue was from the sales of photovoltaic transducer is boosted by the rising consumer spending on renewable sources and deviations in climatic circumstances.
Moreover, the increasing significance of renewable and eco-friendly sources, such as solar PV technology is driving the growth. The demand for photovoltaic transducer is expected to witness continuous improvements with respect to ingredients utilized in the engineering of photovoltaic components and techniques.
Based on Application
The industrial segment hit largest revenue share of around 31% in 2021. The home automation and building market is anticipated to grow during the forecast. Home automation does not require hard wiring. As there is no disposal of batteries that minimizes the maintenance and the environmental impact to use of energy harvesting systems. In wearable watches, which comes under the domain of consumer electronics is also a very good opportunity. It will help in monitoring the activity of the person and also to manage the health.
Top Revenue Contributor in The Global Market is Building and Home Automation Sector
Building & home automation had the highest revenue globally, with USD 191 million in 2022. The market for this application is also expected to witness fastest growth during the forecast period. This is due to the rapid increase in implementation and installation of sensor-based technologies, and growth in the demand for efficient systems, backed by the rising residential and commercial sectors.
Also, from the last few years, self-powered wireless technology has been gaining traction in building and home automation applications in Europe and North America. This has resulted in an unprecedented growth in allowing cutting edge, energy efficient, and wireless technology completely replacing the obsolete technology.
Another factor escalating the growth is the suitability of self-powered wireless modules to easily fit in building automation applications. The source that powers these modules is produced by actions, such as turning of a handle, pressing a button, or from tiny solar cells.
Based on Geography
The largest market for this sector is North American region, due to rapid technological developments in the field of energy harvesting and building in home automation investments. There is a boost in this technology in North America. The current technological advancements in North American region have become a very important factor for the growth of this technology for building and home automation investments. The maximum amount of revenue was generated in United States, due to a flourishing industrial and transportation sector.
Moreover, the demand for such systems is expected to witness the fastest growth in North America during forecast period and it will be followed by the APAC. There is an increase in the demand for low power consuming components and peripherals from the industrial sector, development of advanced technologies, particularly in developing countries, such as India, and China, and huge spending by regional governments to drive the adoption in public and private places.
Europe will contribute the largest revenue share. It is mainly attributed to the increase in automation of buildings and homes, and rapid growth of the industrial automation sector in these regions.
Some of the key players for global energy harvesting system market are ABB, EnOcean GmbH., Power Costs, Inc., STMicroelectronics, Cymbet, Honeywell International Inc., Microchip Technology Inc., General Electric, Cypress Semiconductor Corporation., Parker Hannifin Corp, CONVERGENCE ENERGY LLC, Texas Instruments Incorporated., Mide Technology Corp., FUJITSU, ARVENI, Voltree Power Inc., Bionic Power Inc., Schneider Electric, Qorvo, Inc, Mouser Electronics, Inc, IDTechEx Ltd, and Silicon Laboratories among other domestic and others.
Market Dynamics and Future Prospects:
The energy harvesting market has been witnessing rapid growth in recent years, driven by various factors. These include increasing demand for energy-efficient solutions, the rise of IoT and smart cities, and a growing emphasis on sustainable practices.
Key market trends to watch include:
- Advancements in Technology: Continued advancements in energy harvesting technologies, such as improved efficiency and miniaturization, will expand the scope of applications and drive market growth.
- Collaborative Efforts: Industry collaborations and partnerships between energy harvesting technology providers and end-users will foster innovation and accelerate the adoption of these solutions across industries.
- Regulatory Support: Government initiatives and regulations aimed at promoting sustainable energy practices will create a favorable environment for energy harvesting technologies. Incentives, subsidies, and mandates can significantly impact market dynamics.
- Integration with Other Technologies: Energy harvesting systems will increasingly integrate with complementary technologies like energy storage solutions and wireless communication protocols. This integration will enhance the overall performance and versatility of energy harvesting applications.
Energy harvesting technology holds immense promise in our journey towards a sustainable and efficient future. By capitalizing on ambient energy sources, we can power an array of devices, reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources, and mitigate environmental impact. With ongoing technological advancements, expanding applications, and favorable market dynamics, energy harvesting is poised to revolutionize various industries and unleash the true power of ambient energy sources. Embracing this transformative technology will not only drive innovation but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable planet.
Key Market Developments
- In May 2021 a range of transmitter module for battery free switch appliances was presented by EnOcean named PTM 535BZ. It is the first module that offers a combination of supported wireless standards in 2.4 GHz radio band.
- The company AB launched the robots, which were used as part of coronavirus testing system in Singapore which helped in processing a volume of up to 4000 samples a day. Compared to the other regions to North American market is seeing a high adoption of industrial IoT which is driving the demand for this technology.
- In order to install this technology in 50 federal government’s highest energy consuming buildings the US General Services Administration has entered into a contract with the organization IBM. The need to replace batteries in devices such as the laptops or the smartphones is eliminated due to the energy harvesting system and eventually it helps in drastically enhancing the shelf life.
- Samsung applied for clothing technology in July 2019, which has a built in energy harvesting device that gains power from the body heat, solar heat and the solar light.
- ZF Friedrichshafen AG Partnered with Schneider electric in march 2021 to introduce new innovative smart industrial switches. Harvesting energy from unlicensed band Spectrums is possible with the self powering chipset which is made with silicon by a company Wiliot, which is an energy harvesting startup. This chipset will be useful for the IT workspaces that act as a center of Bluetooth waves and radio waves.
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