Design and Performance Evaluation of a "Fixed-Point" Spar Buoy Equipped with a Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Unit for Floating Near-Shore Applications

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Mar 9;21(5):1912. doi: 10.3390/s21051912.


In the present work, a spar-buoy scaled model was designed and built through a "Lab-on-Sea" unit, equipped with an energy harvesting system. Such a system is based on deformable bands, which are loyal to the unit, to convert wave motion energy into electricity by means of piezo patch transducers. In a preliminary stage, the scaled model, suitable for tests in a controlled ripples-type wave motion channel, was tested in order to verify the "fixed-point" assumption in pitch and roll motions and, consequently, to optimize energy harvesting. A special type of structure was designed, numerically simulated, and experimentally verified. The proposed solution represents an advantageous compromise between the lightness of the used materials and the amount of recoverable energy. The energy, which was obtained from the piezo patch transducers during the simulations in the laboratory, was found to be enough to self-sustain the feasible on-board sensors and the remote data transmission system.

Keywords: energy harvesting; fixed-point; near-shore buoy; piezo patch transducers; spar-buoy.