Thermal energy harvesting for WSNs

Xin Lu, Shuang-Hua Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

86 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the recent developments in both wireless technologies and low power electronics, wireless devices consume less and less power and are promising the possibility to operate continuously by using energy harvesting technologies. The interest in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), powered by environment energy harvesters, has been increasing over the last decade, especially those using thermal energy harvesting. In this paper, a low temperature thermal energy harvesting system, which can harvest heat energy from a temperature gradient and convert it into electrical energy, which can be used to power wireless electronics, is proposed. A prototype based on three subsystems is presented to extract heat energy from a radiator and use it to power ZigBee electronics. High efficiency and a long system lifetime are two of the main advantages of this design. The experimental results show that a maximum of 150 mW power can be harvested by the prototype and the system can continue to operate normally when the harvesting voltage is as low as 0.45 V. Theoretical calculations suggest that by placing the two AA batteries by proposed thermal energy harvesting system, a ZigBee Wireless Radiator Valve can operate for more than eight years.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2010 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4244-6588-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-4244-6586-6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, SMC 2010 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 10 Oct 201013 Oct 2010

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1062-922X


Conference2010 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, SMC 2010
Abbreviated titleSMC 2010


  • Energy harvesting
  • thermal energy harvesting system
  • thermoelectric
  • wireless sensor network
  • ZigBee
  • DC-C converter
  • power management


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