Vibration energy harnessed

Paul Boughton

Perpetuum is launching what it describes as the world's first truly effective vibration energy harvester to power wireless and battery-free devices capable of sending large amounts of data from many types of industrial equipment.

The PMG7 high-performance microgenerator enables users to power sensors, microprocessors and transmitters for accurately monitoring the condition of plant equipment and machinery without the need for batteries, expensive cabling or maintenance. The easy-to-install system is now available to OEMs, sensor manufacturers and end-users in all industries, allowing them to make significant cost savings.

The microgenerator converts kinetic energy from the vibration of the equipment running at mains frequency (50 or 60Hz) into electrical energy. It can generate up to 5mW, which is enough to power a wireless transmitter sending up to 6kbytes of critical data every few minutes, or smaller amounts of data - such as a temperature reading - several times a second. It is a practical device that can operate in most industrial environments and at minimal vibration levels (25mg).

The PMG7 allows operators to continually monitor plant equipment, providing valuable data - such as temperature and vibration spectra - about the condition of equipment including pumps, motors and fans. As a result, the data can be used to optimise the efficiency and availability of plant, increase the cost-efficiency of maintenance work, prevent accidents and make significant savings in energy costs. According to the ARC advisory group, this is a market that can expect significant growth in the next three years - reaching almost EUR1025 million (£700 million) by the end of 2007.

This is a major breakthrough in the technology says Roy Freeland, CEO of Perpetuum. We are delighted to be in a position to now offer this product to the markethaving successfully completed field trials at Yorkshire Waterthe US Navy and an international oil company. This is a practical devicenot a laboratory experiment. No competitive offering has come close to this level of performance in terms of the amount of data that can be sentor the conditions under which it will operate reliably."

The microgenerator is easy to install - it is simply screwed into placeor can be held in place by magnets. It is then left in place with no need for maintenance - a truly perpetual source of power.

Following a recent EUR3.2 million (£2.2 million) funding rounddevelopments are underway to extend the range of applications and the performance of these remarkable devices.

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