Ambient energy generators have the potential to replace battery power as an energy source in a variety of practical applications, particularly in remote locations. Research has shown that it is possible to produce electric power from ambient sources like human energy, radio waves and transmission wires. Traditional electrochemical batteries and fuel storage systems are limited by factors such as battery life, fuel supply and weight. Recent advances in electronic components and sensor technologies are steadily reducing the energy requirements of many remote components and devices, further advancing the potential capabilities of ambient energy power generation.
Human Kinetic Energy as a Power Source
Scientists are researching several new technologies which can harness potential energy from the human body. One such technology would generate electricity from the human foot pressure on stairs and escalators. The same technology could also be used to gather ambient energy in high-traffic sidewalks and hallways. Researchers from The Facility Architects in London say that each foot produces eight watts of electricity every time a step is taken. With current abilities 30 percent (2.4 watts) of energy can be produced by walking. Energy of this type could be used to power low-energy applications such as lighting and safety equipment.
Electricity from Broadcast Radio Waves
Small electrical devices are steadily getting smaller and more efficient. If the energy requirements of sensors, monitors and communications equipment are reduced far enough, they could be operated by intercepting the ambient electricity generated by radio and television microwaves. Wireless electricity is considered to be a form of free energy, limited only by its proximity to ambient electromagnetic sources. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has performed research which indicates that the range of available ambient power from this source could be microwatts to hundreds of milliwatts, depending on distance and power of the transmitter.
Ambient energy has been harvested from alternative sources like geothermal, hydro and solar radiation since the beginning of human history. While these traditional ambient energy sources have excellent power generating capacity, there are limited in remote applications. Today’s high-tech world increasingly demands flexible, mobile and efficient energy sources. Alternative ambient energies could potentially reduce our daily fuel energy requirements, while helping to slow the depletion of global energy resources.