Multi-source Energy Harvesting for Wildlife Tracking

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Virginia Tech

Sufficient power supply to run GPS machinery and transmit data on a long-term basis remains to be the key challenge for wildlife tracking technology. Traditional ways of replacing battery periodically is not only time and money consuming but also dangerous to live-trapping wild animals. In this paper, an innovative wildlife tracking collar with multi-source energy harvester with advantage of high efficiency and reliability is proposed. This multi-source energy harvester entails a solar energy harvester and an innovative rotational electromagnetic energy harvester is mounted on the "wildlife tracking collar" which will extend the duration of wild life tracking by 20% time as was estimated. A feedforward and feedback control of DC-DC converter circuit is adopted to passively realize the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) logic for the solar energy harvester. A novel electromagnetic pendulum energy harvester with motion regulator is proposed which can mechanically rectify the irregular bidirectional swing motion of the pendulum into unidirectional rotational motion of the motor. No electrical rectifier is needed and voltage drops from diodes can be avoided, the EM pendulum energy harvester can provide 200~300 mW under the 0.4g base excitation of 4.5 Hz. The nonlinearity of the disengage mechanism in the pendulum energy harvester will lead to a broad bandwidth frequency response. Simulation results shows the broadband advantage of the proposed energy harvester and experiment results verified that at some frequencies over the natural frequency the efficiency is increased.

Multi-source energy harvester, wildlife tracking, electromagnetic energy harvester, Mechanical Motion Rectifier (MMR), solar energy harvester, Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)