Energy Harvester and nPower PEG: Because kinetic energy isn’t slowing down!

By Gabrielle Pickard,

Just how logical is kinetic energy? Extremely, I’d say, because unlike wind power that requires wind – too bad if it’s a still day – or solar that requires the sun – too bad if it’s a cloudy day, which is usually the case in the UK, well in Manchester anyway! – Kinetic energy relies solely on motion.

nPower-PEG

According to Shape Up America, the average person takes anything between 900 to 3000 steps every day! Given that as a species we are ostensibly always on the move, together with the fact we have cohesive motives to save our planet plummeting into irreversible destruction, it surely makes sense to harness the energy produced by walking.

This is the reckoning behind a team of British scientist’s creation of the simply named “Energy Harvester”, a device that converts body movement into electricity and is then capable of powering small gadgets, such as GPS trackers. The device was unveiled in July 2012’s issue of the journal ‘Smart Materials and Structures’ and is designed to be worn on a person’s knee.

What Michele Pozzi, the project’s leader, has referred to as a “compact and truly wearable harvester”, comprises of an outer ring that, which rotates as the knee joint moves and is equipped with a 72 plectra that in turn move four energy-generating ‘arms’, known as bimorphs, attached to an inner hub – In simpler terms, the vibrations caused by the movement is generated into energy.

According to Reuters, the “Energy Harvester” can presently harvest approximately two milliwatts of power but researchers perceive the gadget being capable, with a couple of enhancements, of exceeding 30 milliwatts.

Whilst Reuters may over-zealously refer to the “Energy Harvester” as being a ‘novel device’, the seemingly unanimous desire to yield kinetic energy into power has seen a splurge of kinetic energy devices sprout up in recent years.

The kinetic charger from nPower, the nPower PEG, – an acronym for ‘personal energy generator’ – for example, despite being first unveiled as a prototype in 2010 when it gained second place at the Consumer Electronic Association’s i-Stage competition for start-ups, became available to buy this month, at a retail price of $170.

This passive kinetic energy charger is designed for backing up the power supply of handheld devices has a 2,000 maH battery. According to nPower, the nPower PEG can be hooked on to a backpack or belt loop and meets customers’ demands for energy that is ‘away from the power grid’.