MRO Magazine

IDTechEx: High power energy harvesting becomes significant

July 20, 2015
By Business Wire News


“High Power Energy Harvesting: Off-Grid 10Kw-100Kw 2016-2026” ( is the title of a new IDTechEx report examining a newly significant off-grid market. It spans harvesting in vehicles to on-ground harvesting. Think of regenerative braking of trains, buses, trams, cars using generators, motors working backwards and Torque Assist Reversing Alternators (TARA). The humble bicycle dynamo has been followed by regenerative soaring of Electraflyer aircraft and regenerative sailing of boats with thrust propellers that work backwards to generate electricity. Diesel will be eliminated from sailing boats and even pure electric boats and small ships will use solar and electrodynamic harvesting.

On land, the market for remote power and microgrids is $17bn, mainly diesel gradually being replaced with zero pollution, reliable, long-life, high power energy harvesting in the form of small wind turbines, solar and the new airborne wind energy – mainly tethered autonomous multicopter kites. Ground heat pumps, water turbines and other options are mostly electrodynamic. Witt Energy electrodynamic harvesters of rotational and linear motion and similar work by Caterpillar to harvest movement of their giant vehicles in 3D excites the authors.

The report fully covers photovoltaics with stretchable, conformal, transparent, fabric and other new formats likely to greatly increase off-grid applications. Multi-mode energy harvesting will increase greatly in land vehicles, boats, ships and aircraft and in static off-grid applications on land. In combination, the supply of electricity will sometimes be continuous leading to elimination of most of the energy storage.

Some vehicle applications grab energy in seconds, one increasingly popular form being 60,000 rpm lightweight flywheels during braking. Energy is returned electrodynamically, mechanically or both. However, mostly the harvesting is less intermittent than the use.

Dr Peter Harrop of IDTechEx reveals, “Europe is in the lead in flywheel adoption and research, 500 London buses trialling GKN/ Williams ones. The technology derives from the $9bn British motor racing industry rapidly moving to pure electric and hybrid. Europe also has most organisations developing airborne wind energy, off-grid power being typically 10kW to 100kW. The Europeans took a large boat around the world on nothing but sunshine and repeated the trick with an aircraft. Faraday would be proud.”

Teresa Henry
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