Energy harvesting is the conversion of ambient energy to usable electrical energy for purposes of powering portable electrical devices that in many cases rely heavily on batteries.
Pike Research president Clint Wheelock said: â€œThe adoption of energy harvesting technologies is being driven by both convenience and economic factors. As the capabilities and cost of the technology improves, energy harvesting will be an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional batteries for a wide range of consumer and industrial applications.â€
The applications for energy harvesting technologies are as diverse as the variety of products that use batteries today, ranging from consumer electronics and personal accessories to medical devices, automotive systems, and military equipment.
Pike Researchâ€™s analysis indicates that the consumer market for energy harvesting will represent approximately 42 percent of all unit shipments by 2015. Key applications in this sector include mobile phones, laptop computers, remote controls, portable lighting, and the continuing market for wristwatches powered by kinetic energy.
The clean-tech market intelligence firm forecasts that industrial applications will represent the majority of the energy harvesting market, with a compound annual growth rate in excess of 100 percent for the sector as a whole. Key emerging industrial markets during that period will include wireless sensor networks (which will represent a large majority of the industrial sector), military devices, medical devices, and automotive devices.
The principal technologies used for the transduction of ambient energy into usable electrical energy include photovoltaic (PV), thermoelectric, piezoelectric, and electromagnetic.
Pike Research forecasts that, between now and 2015, PV energy harvesting technologies will be most prominent in the market, capturing approximately 40 percent of total revenue share by the end of that period. Electromagnetic and piezoelectric technologies will each garner about one-quarter of the total market, with thermoelectric energy harvesting representing approximately 12 percent.
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