Highways, train stations, and even dance floors: the world is full of vibrating surfaces that could yield a rich trove of clean, sustainable energy. It’s called piezoelectric energy, formed by the conversion of mechanical strain into electrical current. Now a team of researchers in Europe has developed a micro-scaled piezoelectric device that could harvest energy from machinery as well as from infrastructure and buildings.
The tiny devices are ideal for use in powering remote sensing equipment, for example to monitor bridges or machines for early signs of deterioration. In that case they could play a key role in more energy efficient maintenance for wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure, while lowering human risk.