13-12-2009, 04:15 PM
Using piezoelectric elements to harvest energy from ambient vibrations has been of great interest over the past few years. Due to the relatively low power output of piezoelectric materials, energy storage devices are used to accumulate harvested energy for intermittent use. Piezoelectric energy harvesting circuits have two schemes: one-stage and two-stage energy harvesting. A one-stage energy harvesting scheme includes a conventional diode bridge rectifier and an energy storage device. In recent years, two-stage energy harvesting circuits have been explored. While the results shown in previous research and development are promising, there are some issues that need to be studied. Energy storage devices such as rechargeable batteries and super capacitors have different cell voltages. However, the storage cells can be connected in series to increase the voltage range. The storage device voltage is an important factor that influences the energy harvesting efficiency. This paper will study the efficiencies of the energy harvesting circuits considering the storage device voltages. For one-stage energy harvesting, expressions are derived to calculate the efficiencies towards different storage device voltages and verified by experiments. For two-stage energy harvesting circuits, theoretical efficiency expressions are derived and verified by PSPICE simulations. These two energy harvesting schemes are also compared. The results show that a one-stage energy harvesting scheme can achieve higher efficiency than the two-stage scheme towards a range of energy storage voltages.