Electric-Field Energy Harvesting in Wireless Networks
© 2002-2012 IEEE. Electric-field energy harvesting (EFEH) can be considered as an emerging and promising alternative for self-sustainable next-generation WSNs. Unlike conventional harvesting methods that rely on ambient variables, EFEH provides more reliable and durable operation as it is operable with any voltage-Applied conductive material. Therefore, it is better suited for advanced throughput and applications requiring a certain QoS. In this article, we introduce this newly emerging WSN paradigm, and focus on enabling EFEH technology for smart grid architectures, such as home, building, and near area networks, where the field intensity is relatively low. To this end, a practical methodology and a general use implementation framework have been developed for low-voltage applications by regarding compelling design issues and challenging source scarcity. The proposed double-layer harvester model is experimentally evaluated. Its performance in terms of implementation flexibility, sensor lifetime, and communication throughput is investigated. In addition, current challenges, open issues, and future research directions are discussed for the design of more enhanced EFEH wireless networks.