element14 has identified two engineers who took great leaps forward in power technology to win the Energy Harvesting Design Challenge. Wojciech Gelmuda and Victor Sluiter developed a battery-free carbon monoxide detector and egg timer, respectively, and demonstrated the substantial value offered by ambient energy.
Energy harvesting – the process that captures small amounts of energy that would otherwise be lost as heat, light, sound, vibration or movement and stores it for small devices – is poised for substantial growth as an industry. Technology research group IDTechEx estimated that the total market for energy harvesting devices, including everything from wrist watches to wireless sensors, will rise to more than $4 billion in 2021.
“As a leading distributor of energy-harvesting tools and technology, we’re pleased to announce Wojciech and Victor as the winners of this unique and forward-looking challenge,” said Global Head of Community Dianne Kibbey. “Their inventions offer insight into how we can use green energy sources to maximize technology and create a more sustainable planet.”
Competitors in the challenge received the Energy Harvesting Solution To Go Design Kit, an exclusive element14 offering, consisting of Wurth Elektronik’s energy harvesting platform. Throughout the competition, participants produced content including blogs, videos and designs. As their grand prize, Gelmuda and Sluiter will each receive a bundle from Wurth Elektronik, Energy micro and Linear Technology including boards, gift certificates and other prizes.
Sluiter’s egg timer harvested the heat energy of the pan in which the egg is boiled. Egg yolk temperature was also calculated, making it unnecessary to boil the water continuously and saving energy.
“This is exciting technology,” he said. “Especially now that energy storage is getting cheaper, remote sensing networks are being deployed more, and new materials are developed, this could take flight. We’re getting ready for a future of harvesting!”
Wojciech used the heat from tap water to power his carbon monoxide detector. He acknowledged that energy harvesting is not for every design, and that there are many factors to keep in mind such as low-energy component use, energy-optimized analog circuits, low-power sensors, etc. However, he added that it’s “very interesting” and requires you to “think outside the box.”
The Energy Harvesting Solution To Go Design Kit can be purchased from Newark element14 in the U.S., Farnell element14 in Europe and element14 in Asia.

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