Energy Harvesting

Materials, Physics, and System Design with Practical Examples

Ravi Anant Kishore, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthony Marin, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Congcong Wu, Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, Research Associate, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ashok Kumar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, India, Shashank Priya, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University

978-1-60595-122-5, August 2018, 280 pages, 6×9, HC book

Student price available

  • Investigates the materials science and physics of energy harvesting with a focus on system configuration and efficient performance
  • Presents mathematical theory and models of materials, electrical conductivity, and device design for vibration-based harvesters
  • Highly relevant for courses in energy harvesting, sustainable and renewable energy, thermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, magnetic energy, and vibrations
  • Extensive equations provided to illustrate and analyze materials and energy flow
  • ANSYS codes included to assist with FEM analysis of magnetic flux devices

This text investigates the materials science and physics of energy harvesting, with a focus on system configuration and efficient performance. It presents the mathematical theory of materials, electrical conductivity, and device design for vibration-based harvesters, thermoelectrics, photovoltaics, wind-energy turbines, and hybrids thereof. Examples include piezoelectrics in wind turbines, as well as approaches using shape-memory alloys, thermomagnetics, and electrostatic generation. Information is provided on testing, characterization, and modeling of EH systems, with extensive equations analyzing materials and energy flow. Circuitry, batteries, and capacitors are also covered. An appendix includes ANSYS codes for finite element analysis of magnetic flux devices.

Educators will find this book highly relevant for courses in energy harvesting, sustainable and renewable energy, thermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, magnetic energy, and vibrations.
Materials scientists, energy harvesting developers, and renewable energy specialists will find the book to be a key resource.


In this book, we provide the fundamental concepts required to design, model, fabricate, and characterize efficient and cost-effective energy harvesters. Various types of harvester designs are discussed that harvest energy from vibration, thermal gradients, solar, and wind. The volume is arranged in a systematic manner explaining all the basic principles with essential mathematical and physical models. Wherever possible, supporting examples are included that provide a summary of ongoing and past developments. The exhaustive content on each of the sub-topics in this textbook gives students and researchers a strong foundation for understanding the design and operation of energy harvesters. Educators will find this book highly relevant for classes on energy harvesting, sustainable and renewable energy, thermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, magnetic energy, and vibrations.


1. Overview of Energy Harvesting

1.1. Introduction to Energy Harvesting

1.2. Vibration Energy Harvesting

1.3. Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

1.4. Photovoltaic Energy Harvesting

1.5. Wind Energy Harvesting

1.6. Introduction to Electrical Energy Conditioning and Storage

2. Inductive Energy Harvesting

2.1. Inductive: History and Need

2.2. Background Physics

2.3. Inductive Harvester Design

2.4. Modeling of Inductive Harvesters

2.5. Modeling of the Direct Vibration Harvester

2.6. Strategies for Optimizing the Figure of Merit

2.7. Review of the State-of-the-Art

2.8. Future Directions

3. Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting

3.1. Piezoelectric Materials: History and Fundamentals

3.2. Lead-free Piezoelectric Materials

3.3. Equivalent Circuit Analysis for Piezoelectrics

3.4. Materials for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting

3.5. Mode of Vibration for Harvesting

3.6. Continuous System

3.7. Energy Harvesting using Low Profile Piezoelectric Transducers

3.8. Distributed Parameter Model of Piezoelectric Bimorph Cantilever Beam

3.9. Impedance Matching

3.10. Piezoelectric MEMS Energy Harvesters

4. Magnetostrictive and Magnetoelectric Energy Harvesting

4.1. Magnetostrictive: History and Need

4.2. Background Physics

4.3. Magnetostrictive Vibration Harvester Design

4.4. Modeling of Magnetostrictive Harvesters

4.5. Strategies for Optimizing the Figure of Merit

4.6. Magnetoelectric Effect—Fundamentals and Material Design

4.7. Magnetoelectric Energy Harvesting

4.8. Future Directions

5. Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

5.1. Thermoelectrics: History and Need

5.2. Background Physics

5.3. Semiconductors and Thermoelectrics

5.4. Strategies for Optimizing Figure of Merit (ZT)

5.5. Thermoelectric Materials

5.6. Thermoelectric Generator

5.7. Microfabricated Energy Harvesting

5.8. NASA Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG)

5.9. Other Applications

5.10. New Directions for Low-Dimensional Thermoelectric Materials

6. Photovoltaic Energy Harvesting

6.1. Photovoltaics: History and Relevance

6.2. Physics of Solar Cells

6.3. Solar Cell Design and Strategies for Optimizing Figure of Merit

6.4. Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

6.5. Thin Film Solar Cells

6.6. Emerging Photovoltaic Cells

6.7. Multi-Junction Solar Cells

6.8. Conclusion and Outlook

7. Wind Energy Harvesting

7.1. Wind: History and Need

7.2. Background Physics

7.3. Wind Harvester Design

7.4. Modeling of Wind Energy Harvesters

7.5. Strategies for Optimizing the Wind Turbine Efficiency

7.6. Review of the State-of-the-Art and Future Trends

8. Alternative Energy Harvesting Approaches

8.1. Shape Memory Alloy Heat Engine

8.2. Thermomagnetic Energy Harvesting

8.3. Electrostatic Energy Harvesting

Appendix A: ANSYS FEA Codes



  1. :

    The most popular renewable energy sources are wind and sun, biomass and flowing water are usually also subsumed in this category. The latter receive less attention when discussing widely varying supply and associated challenges. Only in extreme weather and season situations their supply might be limited: In very hot summers with long dry periods the growth of plants used in biomass-fueled installation may be a problem, and low water levels may limit power generation in power plants in rivers. Fluctuations on wide time scales are the rule with sun and wind. This applies to some other energy sources, too. They are less popular but also important enough to merit researcher’s attention. The present book provides a timely collection of chapters dedicated to them, in particular to vibration energy and thermal energy. Photovoltaic and wind energy harvesting are treated also. Even the term “energy harvesting”, which may sound somewhat strange to some electrochemists, becomes rather natural, almost familiar, to the reader after finishing this book.

    Starting with an overview the reader is made familiar with those forms of energy available for harvesting: Vibrational, thermal, light and wind. Terminology is a bit confusing and non-systematic. Photovoltaic is presumably not a form of energy but a mode of conversion, and even wind is only a typical feature of daily weather and no form of energy. Accepting these minor imprecision’s in daily discussion is hard to avoid, in the present text it does not result in confusion. At the end of chapter one an extensive section is dedicated to electric energy conversion and storage. The wide fluctuations of supply are a characteristic of all these forms of energy, and consequently electric means of converting the supply into a stream of electric current compatible with the demand of a device as well as storing excess energy for demand in times of no supply are of major importance. The latter is good news for the electrochemist dealing in batteries and supercapacitors. This section gives a short overview, just enough to demonstrate the major importance of electrochemical energy storage and conversion.

    The following chapters are treating the various means of harvesting mechanical, thermal, solar and wind energy. Converters of mechanical into electric energy based on inductive, piezoelectric and magnetostrictive principles are handled in separate chapters. Thermoelectric converters (for both modes of operation heat into electric energy and vice versa) are discussed in great detail; the same applies to photovoltaic’s in chapter six. The chapter on wind energy conversion seems to be a bit short, but major parts have been covered in the somewhat unbalanced introductory chapter already. In a final chapter further options including shape memory alloy heat engines, thermomagnetic and electrostatic harvesting are briefly introduced.

    The book is a helpful source for any reader interested in more details of the use of renewable energies large and small. The electrochemist will benefit from a better knowledge of those devices feeding his batteries and supercaps. All will learn more about energy sources and their utilization beyond the carbon and nuclear age.

    Dr. Rudolf Holze, Chemnitz University of Technology and Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of Chemistry

978-1-60595-122-5, August 2018, 280 pages, 6×9, HC book

Student price available


USD Price: $169.50

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