A Piezoelectric Wave-Energy Converter Equipped with a Geared-Linkage-Based Frequency Up-Conversion Mechanism

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Dec 30;21(1):204. doi: 10.3390/s21010204.


In this paper, a piezoelectric wave-energy converter (PWEC), consisting of a buoy, a frequency up-conversion mechanism, and a piezoelectric power-generator component, is developed. The frequency up-conversion mechanism consists of a gear train and geared-linkage mechanism, which converted lower frequencies of wave motion into higher frequencies of mechanical motion. The slider had a six-period displacement compared to the wave motion and was used to excite the piezoelectric power-generation component. Therefore, the operating frequency of the piezoelectric power-generation component was six times the frequency of the wave motion. The developed, flexible piezoelectric composite films of the generator component were used to generate electrical voltage. The piezoelectric film was composed of a copper/nickel foil as the substrate, lead-zirconium-titanium (PZT) material as the piezoelectric layer, and silver material as an upper-electrode layer. The sol-gel process was used to fabricate the PZT layer. The developed PWEC was tested in the wave flume at the Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory, Taiwan (THL). The maximum height and the minimum period were set to 100 mm and 1 s, respectively. The maximum voltage of the measured value was 2.8 V. The root-mean-square (RMS) voltage was 824 mV, which was measured through connection to an external 495 kΩ resistive load. The average electric power was 1.37 μW.

Keywords: flexible piezoelectric composite film; frequency up-conversion mechanism; piezoelectric power generator; wave-energy converter.