Resonant wave energy harvester based on dielectric elastomer generator

Giacomo Moretti (Lead Author), Gastone Pietro Rosati Papini, Michele Righi, David Forehand, David Ingram, Rocco Vertechy, Marco Fontana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dielectric elastomer generators (DEGs) are a class of capacitive solid-state devices that employ highly stretchable dielectrics and conductors to convert mechanical energy into high-voltage direct-current electricity. Their promising performance in terms of convertible energy and power density has been mostly proven in quasi-static experimental tests with prescribed deformation. However, the assessment of their ability in harvesting energy from a dynamic oscillating source of mechanical energy is crucial to demonstrate their effectiveness in practical applications. This paper reports a first demonstration of a DEG system that is able to convert the oscillating energy carried by water waves into electricity. A DEG prototype is built using a commercial polyacrylate film (VHB 4905 by 3M) and an experimental campaign is conducted in a wave-flume facility, i.e. an artificial basin that makes it possible to generate programmed small-scale waves at different frequencies and amplitudes. In resonant conditions, the designed system demonstrates the delivery of a maximum of 0.87 W of electrical power output and 0.64 J energy generated per cycle, with corresponding densities per unit mass of dielectric elastomer of 197 W/kg and 145 J/kg. Additionally, a notable maximum fraction of 18% of the input wave energy is converted into electricity. The presented results provide a promising demonstration of the operation and effectiveness of ocean wave energy converters based on elastic capacitive generators.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Volume27
Early online date29 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018

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