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The University of Southampton
Centre of Excellence for In situ and Remote Intelligent Sensing

Energy harvesting for remote sensing applications

Harvesting energy

The Internet of things (IoT) is generating a great deal of interest in relation to next-generation smart network monitoring systems. However, it is challenging to maintain millions or even billions of sensor units widely spread  in hard to access or dangerous locations. With those billions of things come billions of batteries that must be purchased, maintained, and disposed of. Energy harvesting presents a straightforward solution for easily powering those remote devices using clean energy.  Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can provide a potential solution as they can convert heat into electricity, are safe, long-lasting and maintenance-free with zero-emissions.  TEG technology has already been exploited in several commercial devices starting with the Seiko Thermic watch  and different body sensors e.g. wireless electrocardiogram (ECG) and pulse oximeter sensors. The aim of this project is to realize a new breed of printable and truly flexible hybrid TEGs, interfacing nanostructured inorganic materials with conducting organic polymers that can be entirely processed from solution. These are targeted for low power applications in remote sensing applications. 
The expected outcome from the proposed research are a new breed of low cost TEGs that will be suitable for powering remote sensing networks in hard to access locations which removes their reliance on batteries. This will result in considerable cost savings arising from the maintenance, purchase and disposal of batteries which is essential for increasing the uptake of remote sensing technology. 
Key skills 

Background in Chemistry, Material Science or Physics 
Register for PhD Chemistry 


Dr Iris Nandhakumar, Chemistry

Professor Steve Been, Electronics and Computer Science

Contact for further information


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