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Nextreme, APEI develop energy harvester for turbine WSN

Posted: 23 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:energy harvester? wireless? sensor networks?

Thermal management product manufacturer Nextreme Thermal Solutions Inc. and Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. (APEI) are jointly developing a thermal energy harvesting system for a wireless sensor network that will monitor the health of bearings in turbine engines.

The energy harvester is based on Nextreme's Thermobility product integrated with APEI's high-temperature wireless sensor electronics package. It will power the WSN to allow it to perform detection, diagnosis and prognosis of problems occurring within an engine bearing assembly powered by heat.

Real-time monitoring of temperature, vibration, strain and pressure can provide critical information on the health of bearings for both aircraft turbines as well as power generation systems.

This will also allow maintenance to be performed on an as-needed basis rather than on an arbitrary schedule, thereby saving time and money. Data collected during use can be utilized for design improvements in safety, reliability and efficiency of future systems.

"The addition of Nextreme's thermoelectric energy harvester will reduce the total cost of ownership by eliminating the cost of battery replacement for the sensor system, as well as aiding in the integration and retrofitting of existing turbine engines," said Ty McNutt, director of business development at APEI. Plans call for the development of a system to be concluded by the end of 2011.

energy harvest

Nextreme energy harvest set to be integrated in bearing housing

Nextreme's eTEG HV56 is at the heart of the bearing monitor system. It generates power using the Seebeck Effect. The HV56 has demonstrated output power levels of 1.5mW at a temperature differential of 10 degrees K and 36.5mW at a temperature differential of 50 degrees K. The module measures just 3.1mm x 3.3mm x 0.6mm.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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