Flow measuring system powers itself
The measurement of volume flows – to determine the amount of gasoline that has been put in the tank, for example – can be carried out using oval wheel meters. To transmit the measurement for evaluation and checking, a wireless remote solution would be beneficial for many applications. Normally, this circuitry is powered by batteries or through cables, but this results in additional maintenance and installation work and thus extra costs. With pipelines in particular, the additional cost is so high or the locations are so inaccessible that economical use of flow measurements using remote reading has not been possible due to a lack of alternative power supply methods.
Energy harvesting which uses environmental energy such as light, heat, or motion to produce electrical energy has allowed the Fraunhofer IIS team led by Dr. Peter Spies, head of the “Integrated Energy Supplies” group, to use the turning of the cog wheels in oval wheel meters to generate energy. A suitable arrangement of magnets on the cog wheels and fixed coils on the housing of the oval wheel allows the rotary motion to produce the electrical energy needed to supply a wireless module and to transmit the measurements wirelessly.”