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Electromagnetic Induction Generator toward Energy

Harvesting for Dynamic Systems

Eduardo Torres, Pedro Ponce, Arturo Molina
Tecnologico de Monterrey, School of Engineering and Sciences, Mexico City, Mexico
AbstractEnergy harvesting has become an alternative form of employ a permanent magnet used as the mass, for the purpose
power generation over the last few years. The mechanical force of introducing disequilibrium into the system, as shown in fig.
induced by wind, water, vibrations using piezoelectric materials, 2.
and even the waves of the sea, are examples of energy harvesting
methods. However, electromagnetic induction is an especially
promising means of harvesting energy, as it is cheap, only coils
and magnets being needed for it to function. The effectiveness of
the design depends on the architecture of the device, while the
quantity of energy harvested depends on the lifetime of the
magnets and on the continuation of the induced mechanical
force. An easy-to-assemble but effective prototype is presented
in support of electromagnetic power harvesting. Systems with
piezoelectric materials and research on electromagnetic
induction are outlined, as well as the advantages and
disadvantages of the prototype.
Fig. 2. Diagram of piezoelectric power generator.
Keywordsenergy harvesting; piezoelectric materials;
electromagnetic induction, dynamic systems.
The disequilibrium induces a current in the coil, produced
I. INTRODUCTION by the magnet. Thus, the strain of the piezoelectric materials
and the induced voltage deliver power either to be stored or to
There exist a great number of experiments the purpose of be used for run-time functioning, delivering power between
which is to achieve long time function of a safe, light weight, 50W until 3 Volts [4-7]. There are several issues to be
non-polluting system that costs little and consumes minimal resolved before these designs can achieve a higher power
power. Obviously, neither fossil fuels nor nuclear energy fall scale, and the applications are generally to power
into this category. That is why renewable energies together microsystems (MEMS). It is known that a system has better
with electromagnetic induction are the first show signs of performance in low temperatures [8]. In other words, the
achieving this goal. The problem with developing novel strain caused in the piezoelectric materials provides power
devices focusing on sustainable power sources is the cost. tanks to the properties of these materials.
A multi-energy system taking advantage of solar, thermal, II. OPERATING PRINCIPLE AND RELEVANT WORKS
radio frequencies and vibrations has been developed as an Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry independently
effective solution to combine multiple energy harvesting
discovered the electromotive force (emf) induced by
systems simultaneously for battery charging [1] as shown in
varying the magnitudes of a magnetic field and its magnetic
fig. 1. The problem with these devices is that they need
flux. The emf is detected in the current of a circuit and also is
AD/DC or DC/DC convertors, which drive up costs.
present even if the circuit is nonexistent or not closed. Thus,
Moreover, the effectiveness decreases, because energy is lost
the motion of a permanent magnet close to a coil produces a
during the conversion processes. However, electromagnetic
magnetic flux (Teslameter squared - Tm2), which is the same
induction could increase the efficiency [2].
as 1 Weber; 1 Weber per second is 1 Volt [9].

The applications vary with the design and the desired

object, including the way magnets and coils interact in the
same environment to convert the kinetic energy induced by
mechanical forces into electrical energy. Some designs have
developed significant results scavenging energy, such as the
rotary electromagnetic micro-generator, which harvests up to
416.6 W [10]. A review of vibration-based micro power
Fig. 1. Switched mode battery charging system with monitoring interface. generators using electromagnetic and piezoelectric transducer
mechanisms shows an average output power in mW and W
The use of piezoelectric materials is another way to [11]. An electromagnetic axial and radial flux generator with
scavenge energy, because the strain (torsion or compression) rotor back-irons generates 3.4 kW at 1000 rev/min (rpm) [12].
in the piezoelectrics causes a voltage [3]. Some designs Other projects with different structures and materials

successfully obtain a quantity of energy with a wideband non-uniform static magnetic field, where the coils
electromagnetic energy harvester utilizing a dual-resonator, interact directly.
generating 259.5Vrms [13]. A nonlinear electromagnetic x The orientation of the circuit may be changed, or the
generator with polymeric materials harvests between 0.011 area of the surface in a region with a uniform magnetic
and 0.153 mW [14]. However, a different project refers to a field may be increased or decreased, depending greatly
three-phase, doubly-fed, doubly-salient electromagnetic on the angular velocity.
generator yielding an output voltage with no load of 119.44
and 115.9 V, and a field current of 7A [15]. In each case, an emf is induced in the circuit equal in
magnitude to the rate of change of the magnetic flux
Furthermore, ferromagnetic fluid with a magnetic spring through the device, in accordance with Faradays law. Fig. 4
has been utilized, generating an open-circuit voltage of 10V shows the CAD design, presenting the materials and structure
and 0.26W [16], approximately. Another design employing of the system.
planar inductors obtains between 229 and 265 W [17]. These
projects are a step forward in the development of novel
sustainable energy harvesting systems, which are urgently
required to end the need to extract energy from coal and fossil
fuels. However, the output power achieved in sustainable
systems and the way it is stored are not profitable yet.

Renewable energies, on the other hand, need to be able to

replace fossil fuel systems, stopping the damaged caused to
the planet. One way to obtain higher performance from
renewable energies is to utilize electromagnetic devices for
dynamic systems, as seen in wind and hydraulic generators.
For example, lithium batteries with electromagnetic gradient
structure have special macroscopic equivalent performance
The system has been designed for the purpose of Fig. 4. Structure and materials of the system (CAD concept design).
generating enough power to achieve what a power line can
deliver (120V/60Hz). The working principle consists of The system has one permanent magnet, 20 coils, two
boosting the flywheels with a mechanical force (by hand) to flywheels, and neodymium magnets at the top of each coil.
set a permanent magnet spinning several times, passing Employing the principle of kinetic energy storage, the way to
through 5 coils every 90, as shown in fig. 3 and 5. keep the permanent magnet as constantly in rotation as
Neodymium magnets were chosen over piezoelectrics, owing possible is to use two flywheels, one on each side, to maintain
to the results obtained in previous work [4-7]. the spinning delivered by the mechanical force induced at the
beginning. The purpose of the flywheel is to conserve the
angular momentum, because the longer the permanent magnet
rotates, the more energy can be harvested. The characteristics
of the implemented flywheels are: 20 cm of diameter with 1.5
kg of weight each. The rotation of the permanent magnet is an
essential part of the design, as it is responsible for varying the
magnetic field with each spin. The axis is located over the x-
plane, but the direction occurs over the z-plane, as shown in
fig. 5.

Furthermore, each coil has 1000 turns, yielding a

resistance of 7 ohms, is 2 cm in diameter and 6 cm long.
Through the coils are perpendicular to the magnet, it was
Fig. 3. A) Upper view, B) front view and, C) circuit connection. decided to set up the length of the coil along the radius of the
magnet based on its north-south pole measure. The number of
The magnetic flux in the developed system can be turns is based on ohms law and the established length and
changed in several ways, as in [19, 20]: diameter of the coil.
x The current produced by the magnetic field may be
increased or decreased. The size of the magnet can be On the other hand, the gauge of the wire is 26, as many
larger as well as the quantity of neodymium magnets. turns were desired to scavenge more volts, according to ohms
x Permanent magnets may be moved toward the surface law. Also, various coils were tried, resulting in low resistance
or away, which happens with each spin. and poor efficiency. If the gauge of the wire is too low, a few
turns are achieved and insufficient voltages are obtained, but
x The device itself may be rotated in a region with a
if the gauge of the wire is too high, many turns are produced
static magnetic field or translated in a region with a

and the coils tend to magnetize (loss of volts) and to overheat The time derivative of B:
(excess time functioning), decreasing the efficiency of the
whole system. Thus, it was decided to make an average  =
numbers of turns proportional to the magnetic field of the
magnet, which turned out to be 20 coils with 1000 turns each. Faradays law is applied to relate the rate of change of the
This opened up the possibility of harvesting more volts in flux to the emf; the magnitude of the emf in the coil from the
each coil and of course with each spin. current and resistance of the coil is obtained with:

 || = = (63 )(7) = 0.441 V  

Substituting numerical values:

 = || = ( . )
( . ) = 1.403    

Thus, the magnitude of the magnetic field increases at a

rate of 1.4 T/s. These scalar results are calculated considering
just one coil at steady state. Furthermore, when the magnet
starts to spin, the oscilloscope shows results above what was
calculated for two reasons: first, five coils deliver power when
the magnet is at north-pole; second, because other equations
apply for motional emf, where the charges Q of the magnet
Fig. 5. Rotation direction of the permanent magnet (CAD concept design). move with a velocity v in a region where an electric field E
and a magnetic field B coexist, obtaining the force on Q [22]:
The wire is rolled over a ferromagnetic material, isolated
with a thin layer of insulating liquid, decreasing the space
 = v x B = E  
between the ferromagnetic material and the coil, allowing for
better conductivity. The structure of the system is assembled
over wood, to prevent the system from becoming destabilized which is the force per unit charge, leading to the motional
or tending to stop with each spin. The permanent magnet has a electric field intensity E. The harvested energy all over the
diameter of 11 cm with a depth of 2 cm. Neodymium magnets coils is composed of positive and negative charges. The
are 1 cm in diameter and 0.5 cm deep. The system is 57 cm motional emf produced in the coils is
long, 40 cm high, and 32 deep. The connection of the coils is
serial. The separation between the coils is 25.  = E L = (v x B) L  

Mathematical calculations are required to test whether the where the integral (v x B) L may have a nonzero value
system would work or not. Faradays law is applied to obtain along the motion of the magnet obtaining
the volts that can be scavenged with each spin depending on
the angular velocity of the flywheels. The increasing magnetic
 (v x B) L = =   
field resulted from static electric charges and conservative
electric fields. However, the electric field associated with a
changing magnetic field is non-conservative. Thus, an However, the magnetic flux density changes over time
induced emf in a stationary circuit in a changing magnetic with each spin, as follows:
field is [21]
= E L = S + (v x B) L  

= = =   
The emf induced at 100 rpm is 10.47 rad/s, because
Thus, for the uniform field, the magnetic flux is:
1 = 2 /60 = 0.1047 / (12)
 = =   
The conversion from angular to linear velocity is
In the experimental system, each coil has 1000 turns N
and a radius r of 1 cm. The experimental results showed a = = (10.47 / )(0.11/2 ) = 0.58 /   
current of 63 mA. To obtain the magnitude of the magnetic
field, it is necessary to write the magnetic flux in terms of B, Also, when the magnet passes next to five coils per spin
N and r, solving for B: and the stationary calculation is cancelled, the motional emf is

= =    = = ( )  

   = 5[(0.58)(1.403 100)(0.06)] = 24.41 V

The negative sign indicates that the emf is in the negative car. The prototype can be modified to improve efficiency by
tangential direction. The mathematical calculations are made concentrating the magnetic field inside the system, that is to
with 100 rpm as the tests performed with this standard value say, by isolating it from the air environment. In this case, the
verified were with a tachometer. coils are too far apart from each other. The coils should be set
up horizontally instead of vertically to save space and cover
IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS more area. A denser magnetic field is needed in the core,
Several tests were run, trying various connections to see perhaps by substituting the permanent magnet with a same-
how to take the best advantage of the design. The first tests size neodymium magnet. However, such magnets are hardly
were conducted only with a rectifier, making it possible to available on the market and are very expensive. This is why
turn on several LEDs. A capacitor (one by one with values neodymium magnets were set up at the top of each coil.
from 1F to 100F) was then connected to maintain a lineal Neodymiumironboron magnets are the strongest
charge, and lastly, a 9V DC motor spinning at 50 rpm. The commercially available permanent magnets, becoming a key
flywheels were induced with a mechanical force. component of the transition toward a low-carbon energy
The obtained results were: a single coil generates 1.7V at
<60 rpm. A line of 5 coils generates 20V. The whole system TABLE I. SCALAR RESULTS CONSIDERING UP TO 500 RPM UTILIZING
can harvest 20V with a current of 63 mA at a frequency of 21
Hz, obtaining 1.26 W of power at <100 rpm, as shown in fig. RPM [rad/s] =r [m/s] dB/dt [T/s] Emf [V]
10 1.047 0.057585 14.03 0.242375
20 2.094 0.11517 28.06 0.969501
30 3.141 0.172755 42.09 2.181377
40 4.188 0.23034 56.12 3.878004
50 5.235 0.287925 70.15 6.059382
60 6.282 0.34551 84.18 8.72551
70 7.329 0.403095 98.21 11.87639
80 8.376 0.46068 112.24 15.51202
90 9.423 0.518265 126.27 19.6324
100 10.47 0.57585 140.3 24.23753
Fig. 6. A) Graphical scheme of the output voltage.
200 20.94 1.1517 280.6 96.95011
This result is close to that obtained from other experiments 300 31.41 1.72755 420.9 218.1377
using piezoelectric materials [4-7]. Neodymium magnets
located at the top of each coil increased the efficiency of the 400 41.88 2.3034 561.2 387.8004
system due to an increment of attraction forces, yielding more 500 52.35 2.87925 701.5 605.9382
time-varying magnetic field in every spin. The obtained
results are thus scalar, because the more powerful the magnets A second idea of exchanging the permanent magnet for
and the more mechanical force induced in each spin, the more several neodymium magnets gave inconclusive results, as
energy is harvested. Moreover, the calculated results match each magnet has its own north and south pole, which leads to
perfectly if 90 rpm are considered, obtaining 19.63 V, problems when they are installed inside. Thus, one magnet
theoretically. (one north and one south pole) is better than several N-S
poles. Holding the successive division of magnets together
The scalar results are checked in lower revolutions as becomes more and more complex and takes up more space.
shown in table 1. As such, higher experimental revolutions Finally, faster revolutions over a longer time will help to
cannot be obtained because there is not enough mechanical harvest more power, and more power means the possibility of
force to boost the system; nevertheless, they are calculated. developing an autonomous electromagnetic generator capable
Calculations from 10 to 300 rpm match with the experimental of replacing a power supply.
results. From 400 to 500 were not checked, but as 12 out of 12
results matched, one may assume similar matches will be According to the mathematical equations, when one
found for further rpm. The volts obtained from the rectifier substitutes for larger values, voltages increase in an
were measured with an oscilloscope and a final test was made exponential way. An example is a dynamic system like an
connecting a transformer, but the current fell because the automobile, which has an internal combustion engine. If the
transformers became magnetized and all the possible energy developed prototype is set up next to the crankshaft, when the
harvested was lost there. car is in neutral gear, the crankshaft spins at 800 rpm. This
means that the system could harvest 1550V. On the other
A different design combined with denser magnets can hand, if its installed next to the wheels with the specification
open up the possibility of harvesting more energy. More 205/55/R16, assuming that the vehicle moves at 100 km/h, the
powerful magnets and higher revolutions are necessary. system could harvest 2531V from each wheel. This
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