What if all of our movements—even the slowest and most irregular ones—could be converted into power? That is the challenge that EnerBee took up five years ago.
A Motion-powered Generator to Make Objects Autonomous
Winner of the 2015 EDF Pulse “smart home” award, EnerBee has developed a power generator which is the size of a water bottle cap and harvests power from slow, fast, or irregular motions.
The generator is used to power small devices with low energy demands that would normally take regular or coin cell batteries.
Thanks to the hard work that companies have put in to reduce their products’ energy consumption in the past 20 years, there is now a tremendous amount of these devices. The generator is now being used in home-automation systems (locks, thermostats, etc.), power meters, personal accessories (activity bracelets, smart watches), as well as in cars (tire pressure sensors), and many other products. It can also replace power cables for certain objects, such as access-control devices.
How this Technology Works
EnerBee micro generator combines magnetic energy recovery and piezoelectricity. In fact, it is the combination of these two technologies that makes this solution so unique and innovative.
This is how the generator works: motion activates the magnets, which produces variations in the magnetic field surrounding the piezoelectric material. This causes the material to change shape, which in turn generates electricity. This energy recovery method works using all types of motion. Regardless of whether the motion is regular or irregular, slow or fast, it always generates the same amount of energy.
Eventually, the generator could replace batteries in all kinds of objects used by the public or in industrial settings.
Beyond the environmental benefits and improved user experience, the EnerBee generator will help reduce costs. For example, in a light dimmer, this technology could be used to power the device through motion and replace the power cable with wireless communication.
The first product to be equipped with an EnerBee micro generator, a remote-controlled light switch/dimmer, will be released by the end of 2016. It is currently being tested by several companies.
The next step is to manufacture the product at a low cost so that it can be integrated directly into electronic components. This will expand the scope of the energy recovery system.