MicroGen Systems To Partner With Infotonics Technology Center (ITC) In Developing Micro-Energy Harvesting Technology
MicroGen Systems, LLC has been awarded a $300,000 contract for its "Piezoelectric Vibrational Energy Harvester" project by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The program budget is $619,000 with $319,000 in matching funds coming from The University of Vermont (UVM) Innovations Fund, ITC’s Army Research Laboratory funds, and MicroGen itself. MicroGen is a spinout from UVM, which is commercializing technology exclusively licensed from UVM.
MicroGen relocated to New York in late 2007 to take advantage of ITC’s strong MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) microfabrication and micropackaging capabilities.
"The wireless sensor network (WSN) market is growing quickly yet is limited by existing short lifetime batteries. Providing a green, virtually infinite alternative power source to traditional energy sources will significantly expand applications for WSNs and other technologies," said Robert Andosca, MicroGen’s President and CEO.
WSN applications include industrial and building monitoring (e.g. equipment preventive maintenance, lighting control), transportation systems monitoring (e.g. bridge integrity), automobiles (e.g. airbag accelerometers, tire-pressure monitoring systems) and more.
"ITC is working with MicroGen to quickly turn their concept into a working prototype, which will help them raise capital needed to bring this technology to market. The MEMS-based energy harvester has myriad application possibilities, and MicroGen, partnered with ITC, will be at the forefront in serving emerging markets. We expect MicroGen will have a fully functional prototype by the end of the first quarter, 2009," said ITC CEO Paul Tolley.
Robert G. Callender, NYSERDA Vice President for Programs said, "NYSERDA welcomes MicroGen and is eager to see this new technology developed in New York. The energy harvester application, in buildings to power WSNs, has the potential for considerable energy efficiency gains and fits perfectly with Gov. David Paterson’s goals to see the Empire State become more efficient using home-grown technology."
The 2007 Federal Tread Act mandates that all new vehicles less than 10,000 lbs must have tire-pressure measurement system (TPMS) units on all tires. Currently TPMSs are battery-powered, sending about 64 million batteries to U.S. landfills annually. A green power source like MicroGen’s product can dramatically reduce the need for these batteries. This is one of many WSN applications that could benefit from MicroGen’s new micro power source.