Energy Harvesting Market to Expand

Research from, which looks at the global situation and covers the progress of more than 200 organizations in 22 countries, predicts the sector will grow to $4.4 Billion by 2021.

The value of the energy harvesting industry will be $0.7 billion in 2011, with several hundred developers involved throughout the value chain, according to the new report “Energy Harvesting and Storage for Electronic Devices 2011-2021”.

The majority of the value this year is in consumer electronic applications, where energy harvesters have been used for some time. In 2011, 1.6 million energy harvesters will be used in wireless sensors, resulting in $13.75 million being spent on those harvesters.

This year, most of the harvesters used in the above market segments are solar cells followed by electrodynamos, two relatively mature energy harvesting technologies. New technologies are now taking market share, including thermoelectrics (generating power from heat). NASA is using thermoelectrics to power Mars rovers where they work without light. Piezoelectric energy harvesters are also of great interest due to their small form factor and high efficiency. In 2021, these four energy harvester types will have near similar market share as industrial sensing applications. However, even by then, solar will continue to dominate for consumer applications.

In recent years, the focus of those developing energy harvesters has been to power wireless sensors. Energy harvester–powered wireless sensors are now available, but there is some delay in adoption of wireless sensors, which is outside the control of the energy harvesting community. There is a lack of standards—too many are pushing proprietary wireless standards—and users are unwilling to commit to large numbers as a result.

The topic has also expanded into replacing grid energy locally. Several companies have developed paving tiles that generate energy when stood on, which could be used to power or supplement the power to street lighting, for instance. This will all galvanize into an energy harvesting market of $4.4 billion in 2021. The report looks at the global situation. It covers the progress of more than 200 organizations in 22 countries and gives detailed case studies.

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