Method and apparatus for energy harvesting using microfluidics

Inventor: Thomas Nikita Krupenkin
Primary Examiner: Julio Gonzalez

Patent number: 8053914
Filing date: Jan 20, 2011
Issue date: Nov 8, 2011
Application number: 13/010,306

An apparatus comprising a mechanical-to-electrical energy converting device having a plurality of electrodes and a fluidic body which comprises spatially separated conductive and dielectric liquid regions. Said fluidic body is configured to reversibly move as a whole with respect to said plurality of electrodes under the influence of a mechanical force. Each cycle of said reversible motion of said fluidic body causes multiple alternations of the amount of electrical charge accumulated by the electrodes, whereby generating electrical current flow between said electrodes.

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. Method of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy comprising steps of:

applying a bias voltage to plurality of electrodes and transferring generated electrical current from said electrodes to power consumption means;

providing electrical charge to said electrodes and generating electrical field between said electrodes by applying said bias voltage to said electrodes;

reversibly moving a fluidic body along the plurality of electrodes, the fluidic body comprising alternating conductive and dielectric liquid regions moving against electrostatic force generated by said electrical field generated between said electrodes, thereby causing multiple alternations of the amount of charge accumulated by said plurality of electrodes during each cycle of said reversible motion; and

transferring electrical current generated by the multiple alternations of the accumulated charge to power consumption means during each cycle of said reversible motion.

2. Method of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy comprising steps of:

providing plurality of electrodes and a circuit means for transferring generated electrical current from said electrodes to power consumption means;

providing electrical charge to said electrodes and generating electrical field between said electrodes by forming an electrical double-layer between said electrodes and a fluidic body comprising alternating conductive and dielectric liquid regions;

reversibly moving said fluidic body along the plurality of electrodes, the fluidic body moving against the electrostatic force generated by said electrical field, thereby

causing multiple alternations of the amount of charge accumulated by said plurality of electrodes during per each cycle of said reversible motion; and

transferring electrical current generated by the multiple alternations of the accumulated charge to power consumption means during each cycle of said reversible motion.

3. A method, comprising:

manufacturing an energy converting device, comprising:

forming a plurality of electrodes over one or more substrates;

forming a fluidic body comprising a plurality of alternating conductive and dielectric liquid regions;

positioning said fluidic body in close proximity to said plurality of electrodes;

electrically coupling said plurality of electrodes to electrical circuit means for transferring electrical current generated by the relative movement of the fluidic body with respect to the plurality of electrodes from said energy converting device to the power consumption means.

4. The method of claim 3 further comprising a step of electrically insulating at least one of said plurality of electrodes from said fluidic body.

5. The method of claim 3 further comprising a step of disposing at least one of contact-line-pinning-reduction means on the surface of at least one of said plurality of electrodes.

6. The method of claim 3, further comprising electrically coupling said plurality of electrodes to second electrical circuit means, which is configured to apply a bias voltage to at least one electrode out of said plurality of electrodes, so as to increase the amount of charge accumulated by said at least one electrode.

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