IoT Energy Harvesting Options and Their Advantages

April 7

Modern developments in low-power equipment, such as smartphones and energy efficiency technologies, are paving the way toward a more sustainable and mobile society driven by IoT energy harvesting. This concept involves the accumulation, storage, and use of electric power monitored by IoT devices. Here's a look at how wireless communication and alternative energy are transforming mobile energy choices.

Energy Harvesting Technology

The use of IoT energy harvesting by electric utilities is growing every year, since it has proven to make operations much more efficient. Utilities have saved millions of dollars on cutting energy waste by covering operations with sensors that collect data on equipment and energy. Thanks to machine learning technology, when a power company has a power deficiency, IoT sensors can trigger an automated shift to tap stored energy from renewable sources.

Thousands of IoT sensors are being installed in remote locations to track a wide range of metrics on energy use. Transporting batteries or other forms of portable power from one location to another can be tracked to factor the carbon footprint generated from the journey. Energy harvesting to power wearables and other mobile devices might be derived from sources such as solar, wind, thermal and kinetic energy.

5 Powerful IoT Energy-Harvesting Options

  1. Solar Energy - Sunlight creates unlimited energy in certain geographic regions. But even in climates with limited sunshine, solar power can be an option. The sun is expected to shine for billions more years and every day it provides the earth with years’ worth of free energy. And thanks to a wealth of IoT data, scientists are constantly learning about new ways to harness energy from the sun.
  2. Thermoelectric Energy - Portable generators are used by people who enjoy the great outdoors, but so far, green choices have been limited. New innovations have made it possible for a thermoelectric generator to charge small IoT devices. The charge is activated by body heat or other environmental elements.
  3. Wind Energy with a Side of Solar - It's now possible to design a platform that harvests energy from both the sun and wind. This technology was recently announced by the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing. The new product is called a Hybridized Nanogenerator and is positioned to integrate with smart cities for providing renewable energy. The solar element generates eight megawatts of electric power, which can convert wind into electricity.
  4. RF Energy - Natural sources of electromagnetic energy include light and lightning. Radio frequency (RF) energy is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum where Wi-Fi, broadcast, and microwave equipment communicate. A new RF energy device made by E-peas powers IoT systems at 1.8 volts with various storage options.
  5. Vibration Energy - Vibrations can be converted into electrical energy, which is how electric guitars work. Sound is the product of vibrations. Energy generated from vibrations is useful when batteries are not economically feasible or technologically practical. Mixing solar with vibration energy on the same platform has been achieved by Cypress Semiconductor, which is releasing a new PMIC power converter called the CY39C811. It will be useful for powering field-based IoT devices. The converter has eight options for input voltage ranging from 2.6V to 23V.


The future of energy storage and portable power will be driven by various forms of clean, renewable energy and with the help of IoT energy harvesting devices. The next challenge for technology firms to answer is using and storing energy for mobile devices without batteries. Powering the vast sensor networks of the future will certainly require the most efficient energy harvesting technology available.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

After 25 years in engineering, Johannes Beekman founded IoT Marketing with the goal of helping companies bring wide-scale awareness to their inventions. He received a Master of Science in Physics degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and started his career in the semiconductor field. Johannes pioneered two successful wafer fab startups for Philips Electronics; one in Europe and the second one in Asia. And served as Senior Program Manager for Sematech, where he provided solutions for semiconductor industry-wide product improvement and cost reduction challenges. Johannes has also published articles on several trade-focused websites.


alternative energy, energy storage, energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy, RF energy, solar energy, vibration energy

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