Every day, huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) are expelled into the atmosphere from industrial setups, vehicles, and houses. This results in the depletion of the ozone layer, which, in turn, leads to global warming and changing weather patterns. Alarmed by this, governments are putting strict emission policies in place, so the carbon footprint can be minimized.
An effective way to do so is checking the energy wastage, and storing the extra energy instead, for future use. Apart from keeping the environment clean, energy harvesting also brings down electricity bills.
Due to the above-mentioned advantages and several more, the energy harvesting system market, which valued $358.5 million in 2017, would grow at an 11.0% during 2018–2023, to reach $659.6 million in 2023. Such devices convert energy from unconventional sources, such as movement, vibration, temperature difference, and the sun, to electricity.
This allows for the functioning of low-voltage devices without a separate battery, thereby making their operations possible in situations where battery replacement is not always feasible. Vibration, heat, electromagnetic field/radio frequency (RF) and light are the major forms of energy which these systems convert to electrical power.
Among these, devices which use light to create electricity saw the highest adoption during 2013–2017. This was because of the simple fact that sunlight is abundant on earth and one of the most cost-effective sources for electricity generation, i.e. solar power.
Due to the strong support for green energy, such systems are being rapidly installed across the world. Buoyed by this, governments and power firms are increasing their investments for the development of advanced photovoltaic (PV) technology, to achieve the most cost-effective electricity generation as possible.
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This is why hybrid systems, wherein multiple energy sources can be tapped at once, are becoming the trend. For instance, energy harvesting systems, using sunlight, are being installed at wind farms as well as hydro-electric plants, to maximize the power output.
Similarly, light-based devices are being integrated in geothermal plants to create more steam for the turbines and increase the amount of electricity being produced. As renewable energy plants can have variable output, the use of hybrid systems ensures consistent power supply, while resulting in significant cost savings.