Thesis Proposal

08Feb08

inDOOR Energy Harvesting

What if you could harvest electricity from the things that you do everyday? Imagine the lobby of a public building and what you and others do everyday moving in and out of it. I propose a universal add-on to traditional hinged doors that convert kinetic energy into usable electricity.

While energy is constantly being transfered from one form to another, deficits still occur where utility, cost and environmental impact intersect. I am interested in harvesting energy from routine indoor mechanical motion, such as doors in a public space, and applying it to existing low power applications such as illuminating LED based displays. As devises become capable of running on less and less power, energy harvesting becomes a feasible means of suppling needed power. I am also interested in creating a web based monitoring component as well as providing meaningful and immediate user feedback.

I will be utilizing caloric energy metabolized by people as they open and close doors and converting the rotational kinetic energy they exert as work on the doors via a geared dc generator. I am proposing prototyping a module that could be easily attached to a door, without creating significant resistance, where high frequency of door use is observed. The stored electricity will be used for an application suitable to the building’s needs, such as illuminating emergency signs, thus off grid power requirements.

Lastly, monitoring and user feedback is important. I would like to data-log and graph the output on-line for remote monitoring, which means having each send data wirelessly to a mySQL database graphed online via php and flash. I would then be able to track problems and compare results in different locations.

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