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Shaken and Stirred: ‘Self-Charging’ Batteries from Ambient Vibration

To serve a world bent on gaining autonomous power for wireless sensors, MicroGen Systems LLC, of Ithaca and Cornell University's Energy Materials Center (emc2) have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop "self-charging" batteries – that use background shaking and stirring for their energy source.

The battery will look like a microchip, but with a vibrating core, and it will harness energy from almost anything that shakes. Applications for the self-charging batteries include smart energy systems for industrial equipment, lighting control, infrastructure applications for monitoring the structural integrity of bridges and roads, and energy for monitoring onboard vehicle systems.

The memorandum establishes the framework for MicroGen systems to receive critical financial support from the NYSTAR-designated Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) for the project with the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) and emc2.

Paul Mutolo, Cornell researcher and the director of external partnerships for the Energy Materials Center at Cornell, said that green energy start-up companies align with the goals of CFES and emc2. He said: “Companies like MicroGen help our local community build and retain high-value jobs, and their technology will help us transition to a smarter, more efficient energy system. MicroGen is looking forward to strong growth, we are delighted to have them as one of our collaborating companies."

Edward Reinfurt, executive director of NYSTAR said, “NYSTAR is pleased to have a part in this special partnership between MicroGen Systems LLC and Cornell’s Energy Materials Center, one of five designated Energy Frontier Research Centers in New York State.”

"The story of MicroGen Systems involves many collaborations including work with the NYSTAR supported Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility and receiving financial support from the Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) a NYSTAR designed Center for Advanced Technology (CAT),” said Reinfurt.

The collaboration is the kind of cooperative work suggested by the Governor’s Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through industry-higher education partnerships.

Reinfurt said, “This is a critical component to the future of the innovation economy in New York State.”

Robert Andosca, founder and president of MicroGen said: "Overcoming the battery bottleneck is key. Providing a green, virtually infinite power source to replace traditional energy sources will significantly expand applications for wireless sensor networks and other technologies. Our micro-generator technology will enable the wireless sensor network industry to grow significantly."

Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
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