TItle: Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting from Hot Water Pipes
Description: Considerable research has gone into creating low power, long lasting wireless sensor nodes (WSNs). The past decade has been marked with a variety of designs capable of operating for more than a year with a single battery, and recent improvements in solar and other energy harvesting technologies have inspired the creation of ‘autonomous’ sensors—sensors that are self-powered and self-sufficient. Towards this goal, WSNs have employed solar, piezoelectric, RF, and thermal harvesting techniques. Such systems have been marked with varying success, due to unreliable energy sources and mechanical challenges. This work focuses on an implementation of thermal energy harvesting specifically targeting waste heat from hot water pipes. We demonstrate both a low-power wireless node capable of more than 20 minutes of operation after a mere 10 second burst of hot water and an appropriately asymmetric network infrastructure to support such energy-starved ‘leaf’ nodes. This work is a blend of energy-aware computing, ultra-low-power circuit design, wireless sensor network design, and thermodynamic optimization.
Status: Active Project
Main Research Area: Power-aware Computing and Communications