ECE 5284 Power Management Circuits for Energy Harvesting | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Energy sources for energy harvesting. Equivalent circuits for various transducers including piezoelectric cantilevers (PZT), electromagnetic generators, photovoltaic cells, and thermoelectric generators. Power management circuits (PMCs) and maximum power point tracking (MPPT) schemes for piezoelectric cantilevers. PMCs for electromagnetic and electrostatic generators, and photovoltaic modules. MPPT schemes for photovoltaic modules under full sun and partial shading.

Why take this course?

Recently harvesting small-scale energy has attracted immense research efforts for applications such as wireless sensor networks for environmental and habitat monitoring, implantable devices, and biosensors. Replacing or recharging batteries for those applications is inconvenient, expensive, or impractical. Energy harvesting (EH) from ambient sources offers a promising solution to the problem. A power management circuit is a key building block of an energy harvesting system. This course covers power management circuit design for small scale energy harvesting for various energy sources developed recently in academia and industry.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe possible energy sources and their characteristics for energy harvesting
  • Model equivalent circuits for various transducers including piezoelectric cantilevers, electromagnetic generators, photovoltaic cells, and thermoelectric generators
  • Select an appropriate transducer for a given vibration energy source
  • Analyze and design suitable PMCs for a vibration, solar, thermal and RF energy harvesting
  • Categorize the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms and characteristics of those algorithms
  • Determine a suitable MPPT algorithm for a given energy source and operating environment, and implement it
  • Specify capabilities and limitations of energy harvesting for a given energy source and a target application

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Introduction and characteristic of energy sources 5%
2. DC/DC converters and Impedance matching 5%
3. Model of PZT cantilevers, impedance matching, and MPPT 10%
4. PMCs for PZT cantilevers 10%
5. Electromagnetic and electrostatic generators and PMCs 10%
6. Model of photovoltaic cells, impedance matching, and MPPT 10%
7. MPPT for partial shading 10%
8. Model for thermoelectric generators and PMCs 10%
9. PMCs for RF energy harvesting 10%
10. PMCs for hybrid energy sources 5%
11. Wearable energy harvesting devices 5%
12. Energy harvesting for implantable devices 5%
13. Futuristic energy harvesting 5%