Development and characterisation of a self-powered measurement buoy prototype by means of piezoelectric energy harvester for monitoring activities in a marine environment

Damiano Alizzio, Antonino Quattrocchi, Roberto Montanini


In the interest of our society, for example in Smart City but also in other specific backgrounds, environmental monitoring is an essential activity to measure the quality of different ecosystems. In fact, the need to obtain accurate and extended measurements in space and time has considerably become relevant. In very large environments, such as marine ones, technological solutions are required for the use of smart, automatic, and self-powered devices in order to reduce human maintenance service. This work presents a simple and innovative layout for a small self-powered floating buoy, with the aim of measuring and transmitting the detected data for visualization, storage and/or elaboration. The power supply was obtained using a cantilever harvester, based on piezoelectric patches, converting the motion of ripple waves. Such type of waves is characterized by frequencies between 1.50 Hz and 2.50 Hz with oscillation between 5.0 ° and 7.0 °. Specifically, a dedicated experimental setup was created to simulate the motion of ripple waves and to evaluate the suitability of the proposed design and the performance of the used harvester. Furthermore, a dynamic analytical model for the harvester has been defined and the uncertainty correlated to the harvested power has been evaluated. Finally, the harvested voltage and power have shown how the presented buoy behaves like a frequency transformer. Hence, although the used cantilever harvester does not work in its resonant frequency, the harvested electricity undergoes a significant increase.

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