Researchers find new way of harvesting energy may help with world's shortage

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Findings by electrical and computer engineering researchers show that in the future clean alternatives such as harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves may help ease the world’s energy shortage
 
Research published this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters by ECE researchersOmar Ramahi, right, a Waterloo electrical and computer engineering professor, and Thamer Almoneef, a doctoral candidate, include a novel design for electromagnetic energy harvesting based on the "full absorption concept." This involves the use of metamaterials that can be tailored to produce media that neither reflects nor transmits any power—enabling full absorption of incident waves at a specific range of frequencies and polarizations.
 
"The growing demand for electrical energy around the globe is the main factor driving our research," said Almoneef in the journal article. "More than 80 per cent of our energy today comes from burning fossil fuels, which is both harmful to our environment and unsustainable as well. In our group, we’re trying to help solve the energy crisis by improving the efficiency of electromagnetic energy-harvesting systems."
 
The key significance of the researchers’ work is that it demonstrates for the first time that it’s possible to collect essentially all of the electromagnetic energy that falls onto a surface.
 
"Conventional antennas can channel electromagnetic energy to a load—but at much lower energy absorption efficiency levels," said Ramahi. "We can also channel the absorbed energy into a load, rather than having the energy dissipate in the material as was done in previous works."

 

 

 

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