Powerful and cheaper energy harvesters, presentation of the project that wins Start Cup 202

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More powerful, eco-friendly and low-maintenance energy collectors. This is the business idea that won the first prize for the 2020 edition of Start Cup Campania.

The project deals with the power supply of electronic devices used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, which are increasingly popular for environmental and industrial monitoring (Industry 4.0) for transport, smart cities and the automotive sector. The commonly adopted solution for powering IoT devices is represented by disposable batteries, which are unreliable, have high maintenance costs and have a great environmental impact. The alternative solution to the classic batteries is represented by energy harvesting systems, the so-called energy harvesters, which allow different sources of energy that would otherwise be dispersed in the surrounding environment to be transformed into electricity. Unfortunately, the use of energy harvesting systems is severely limited by the low values of electrical power they are able to generate.

The business idea is to offer an electronic circuit on the market that allows to significantly increase, up to 250%, the electrical power generated by current eco-friendly power supplies based on energy harvesting systems. The product offered is configured as an economical and compact plugin that represents an absolute novelty in the sector. The product, by increasing the power of the energy harvesting systems and therefore significantly expanding the areas and possibilities of use, eliminates the maintenance costs and environmental impact of classic disposable batteries. In addition, the increase in extracted power, obtained through the product offered, allows to: (1) power more performing devices for the IoT, in greater numbers, characterized by higher consumption, and with higher levels of service quality; (2) reduce the size of the harvester and therefore the initial cost of the system, with the same electrical load and source; (3) extend the discharge time of the rechargeable battery, with a consequent advantage in terms of maintenance costs (especially in the case of numerous sensors located in places that are difficult to access).


The first version of the product,  created from the studies and research activity carried out at the Department of  Engineering of the Vanvitelli University and developed for vibration harvesters, is in the international patenting phase (International application number PCT / IB2020 / 052514) and has already received the highest positive evaluation.