A New Prospect in Road Traffic Energy Harvesting Using Lead-Free Piezoceramics
Manuel Vázquez-Rodríguez, Francisco J. Jiménez, Lorena Pardo, Pilar Ochoa, Amador M. González and José de Frutos.
In this paper, a new prospect using lead-free piezoelectric ceramics is presented in order to determine their behavior in piezoelectric-based road traffic energy harvesting applications. This paper will describe the low-cost and fully programmable novel test bench developed. The test bench includes a traffic simulator and acquires the electrical signals of the piezoelectric materials and the energy harvested when stress is produced by analogous mechanical stimuli to road traffic effects. This new computer-controlled laboratory instrument is able to obtain the active electrical model of the piezoelectric materials and the generalized linear equivalent electrical model of the energy storage and harvesting circuits in an accurate and automatized empirical process. The models are originals and predict the extracted maximum power. The methodology presented allows the use of only two load resistor values to empirically verify the value of the output impedance of the harvester previously determined by simulations. This parameter is unknown a priori and is very relevant for optimizing the energy harvesting process based on maximum power point algorithms. The relative error achieved between the theoretical analysis by applying the models and the practical tests with real harvesting systems is under 3%. The environmental concerns are explored, highlighting the main differences between lead-containing (lead zirconate titanate, PZT) and lead-free commercial piezoelectric ceramics in road traffic energy harvesting applications
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