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Thermal energy harvesting from temperature fluctuations

Abstract : The development of portable equipments, wireless sensors networks and self-powered devices in a general manner generates a strong demand for micro-energy harvesting devices. One of the most challenging ways to self power devices is the development of systems that recycle ambient energy and continually replenish the energy consumed by the system. Apart from electromechanical energy harvesting, it is also interesting to convert thermal energy, which is “available” everywhere, into suitable electrical energy. In this thesis, the thermal to electrical energy conversion from temperature fluctuations was developed and improved, and the feasibility of this technique was also confirmed by implementing the experimental experiment. Among different ferroelectric materials, PZN-4.5PT single crystal and P(VDF-TrFE-CFE) 61.3/29.7/9 mol% were chosen as active materials due to their outstanding properties under electric field. By means of some intelligent thermodynamic cycles, e.g., Ericsson or Stirling cycle, which has been presented in previous research, the efficiency of energy conversion could be improved greatly. In the first part, pyroelectric energy harvesting on PZN-4.5PT single crystals with an Ericsson cycle was mainly investigated from two aspects: frequency effect and phase transitions. It was shown that the harvested energy demonstrated a nonlinear decrease with an increase of frequency, and the optimal use of the phase transitions during the Ericsson cycle could greatly improve the harvested energy by choosing the appropriate working temperature range. Based on it, two asymmetric Ericsson models (L-H and H-L cycles) were attempted successfully, and it was confirmed that the H-L cycle is the most effective thermal energy harvesting cycle for this material. The second part concentrated on electrostatic energy harvesting by nonlinear capacitance variation on P(VDF-TrFE-CFE) 61.3/29.7/9 mol% terpolymer. Ericsson cycle was tested experimentally between 25 and 0°C and compared with the simulation from dielectric constant values obtained under DC electric field. The identical result between simulation and experiment proved the reliability of our theoretical evaluation. It was found, from simulation, that the harvested energy increased up to 240 mJ/cm3 when raising the electric field at 80 kV/mm. The further study on Ericsson and Stirling cycle was also made under different temperature and electric field conditions for evaluation. The harvested energy increases with the rising of temperature variation and electric field in both cycles, but in contrast to Ericsson cycle, Stirling cycle can harvest more energy for the same injected energy.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00698421, version 1

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Hongying Zhu. Thermal energy harvesting from temperature fluctuations. Other [cond-mat.other]. INSA de Lyon, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011ISAL0086⟩. ⟨tel-00698421⟩

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