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Piezoelectric Energy Conversion Using Locomotion

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher A. Howells

US Army CERDEC, Ft. Belvoir, VA

Paper No. ES2008-54063, pp. 13-17; 5 pages
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer, Fluids Engineering, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 1
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4319-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3


Piezoelectric materials can be used to convert oscillatory mechanical energy into electrical energy. This technology, together with innovative mechanical coupling designs, can form the basis for an energy harvesting solution for military and commercial systems. The US Army-CERDEC at Ft. Belvoir, VA and Continuum Photonics, Inc. in Billerica, MA completed a three year Science & Technology Objective (STO) research effort that focused on harvesting energy from physical exertion. The effort was aimed at investigating the concept of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting for supplying supplemental power for dismounted soldiers. This STO effort resulted in the development of four proof-of-concept Heel Strike Units where each unit is essentially a small electric generator that utilizes piezoelectric elements to convert mechanical motion into electrical power in the form factor of the heel of a soldier’s combat boot. The Power Technology Branch has tested and evaluated the Heel Strike units. The results of the testing and evaluation and the performance of this small electric generator are presented. The generator’s piezoelectric conversion of mechanical motion into electrical power, its efficiency, the processes it goes through to produce useable power and commercial applications of the Heel Strike electric generator are discussed.



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