Light-Based Energy Harvesting Systems Gaining Mainstream Adoption

Light-Based Energy Harvesting Systems Gaining Mainstream Adoption

Published Nov 21 

The average human emits 35,000–45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) via the usage of energy in various forms for various purposes! These emissions lead to air pollution, which ultimately results in climate change and respiratory diseases. Thus, a strong need is being felt to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and make the earth inhabitable for future generations. Limiting the usage of fossil fuels to produce energy and leveraging alternative resources that are abundant on earth, such as heat and light, for the purpose has proven to be one of the best solutions to this problem.

The popularity of energy harvesting systems is also driven by the rising demand for energy-efficient devices. Wireless sensing devices are often installed far from grid connectivity and in places where battery replacement is a hectic affair. Therefore, the demand for systems that can tap the natural energy around these devices and autonomously convert it to electricity is increasing. For this purpose, super-diodes, in combination with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), are being used to convert conventional energy to usable electricity. This technology is preferred for such applications as it offers better performance over others in the long run.

The technology segment of the energy harvesting system market is classified into vibration, light, electromagnetic/radiofrequency (RF), and thermal. Among these, in 2017, the light category dominated the market, as light is the most abundant resource on earth and its application for energy generation is well understood. To convert light to electricity, energy harvesting systems only require a photovoltaic cell, along with other components. Market players are taking initiatives to come up with small and cost-effective light-based energy harvesting systems, which is further driving their adoption.

All the four energy harvesting technologies are used for consumer electronics, building & home automation, transportation, industrial, and security purposes. Among these, the concept found the widest usage in the past for building & home automation applications, on account of the rising integration of sensors and increasing demand for energy-efficient systems from the growing commercial and residential sectors. Self-powered wireless building & home automation systems are gaining ground in North America and Europe. This is propelling the demand for compact energy harvesting systems that can easily fit in buildings and houses.

During the historical period (2013–2017), Europe generated the highest revenue in the energy harvesting system market because of a high rate of integration of automation technologies in buildings, houses, and industries. North America is expected to be the fastest-growing region during the forecast period due to the adoption of advanced technologies, rising research and development (R&D) investments in the field, and surging demand for energy-efficient devices in factories. Similar reasons will lead to the escalating procurement of energy harvesting systems in the countries of Asia-Pacific (APAC), especially India and China.

Thus, with the increasing environmental concerns, the scope for energy harvesting technologies will only widen.