element14 energy harvesting road test design challenge: month one

May 27, 2013 //By Dianne Kibbey
element14 energy harvesting road test design challenge: month one
Our Energy Harvesting Design Challenge is now well under way, and the seven competitors from around the world have been busy developing their ideas for a workable device that utilises power sourced through energy harvesting.

Here we examine some of the highlights from the first month of the Challenge, and reveal the early difficulties the competitors have faced so far.

The first month has provided something of a reality check for our talented engineers as they face up to the realities of developing their project ideas in an uncompromising environment. The creative approaches have been inspiring, and it's this sort of ingenuity that engineers must harness to find the workable new sources of energy necessary for the long term continuation of our demanding lifestyles.

Australian MA engineering student Sean Reynolds Massey-Reed has been getting to grips with his homebrew monitoring kit, and the good news for all beer aficionados is that he’s already successfully produced some impressive-looking Christmas ale, with pumpkin ale in the works at the time of writing.

Sean isn’t just looking to make good ale however, and needs to develop a method of harvesting excess heat from fermentation to power the monitor. Early trials were successful in getting the homebrew kit to reach a temperature over 30 degrees, but still fell short of the 62 degrees needed to power it.

As the kit can definitely create power, Sean is now looking to attach sensors, monitoring how much power they use with the energy aware profiler in order to gauge how much potential there is to operate the kit from its excess heat, and has also proposed utilising a thermal camera to get a clearer picture of the wasted heat generated from the kit.

Sean begins to run tests with his home brewing kit.

Wojciech Gelmunda has taken his carbon monoxide monitor into the initial trial stages. Inspired by the marketing messages of cavity insulation businesses, Wojciech is attempting to take advantage of the reputed temperature difference of just 1 degrees Celsius that exists between ambient room temperature and an insulated wall.

However, as his initial tests suggested that this isn’t necessarily always

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