A Multi-Input Bridgeless Resonant AC-DC Converter for Electromagnetic Energy Harvesting


Flapping electromagnetic-reed generators are investigated to harvest wind energy, even at low cut-off wind speeds. Power electronic interfaces are intended to address ac-dc conversion and power conditioning for single- or multiple-channel systems. However, the generated voltage of each generator reed at low wind speed is usually below the threshold voltage of power electronic semiconductor devices, increasing the difficulty and inefficiency of rectification, particularly at relatively low output powers. This manuscript proposes a multi-input bridgeless resonant ac-dc converter to achieve ac-dc conversion, step up voltage and match optimal impedance for a multi-channel electromagnetic energy harvesting system. Alternating voltage of each generator is stepped up through the switching LC network and then rectified by a freewheeling diode. Its resonant operation enhances efficiency and enables miniaturization through high frequency switching. The optimal electrical impedance can be adjusted through resonance impedance matching and pulse-frequency-modulation (PFM) control. A 5-cm×3-cm, six-input standalone prototype is fabricated to address power conditioning for a six-channel BreezBee® wind panel.


AC-DC conversion, electromagnetic energy harvesting, multi-input converter, resonant converter, wind energy.





Fig. 1. Multi-channel EMR generators and PEI system: (a) conventional PEI; and (b) proposed multi-input PEI.



Fig. 2. Illustrative scheme of the proposed multi-input converter (v(i)emf: EMF of #i reed; r(i)EMR: coil resistance; L(i)EMR: self-inductance; i(i)EMR: reed terminal current; v(i)EMR: reed terminal voltage; C(i)r1= C(i)r2: resonant capacitors; Lr: resonant inductor; Q(i)r1, Q(i)r2: MOSFETs; Dr: output diode; Co: output capacitor).



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  • image005                                                                    (b)

Fig. 3. Experimental waveforms of power amplifiers: fin = 20 Hz; X-axis: 10 ms/div; Y-axis: (a) vemf = 3 Vrms; Ch1 = output voltage (Vo), 2.5 V/div; Ch2 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #1, 10 V/div; Ch3 = input current (iEMR) of six reeds, 50 mA/div; and (b) vemf = 0.5 Vrms; Ch1 = output voltage (Vo), 0.5 V/div; Ch2 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #1, 5 V/div; Ch3 = sum of the input currents (iEMR) of six reeds, 10 mA/div.

 image006                                                         (a)


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Fig. 4. Experimental waveforms of power amplifiers with step change: X-axis: 40 ms/div; Y-axis: (a) vemf = from 1 Vrms to 2 Vrms; Ch1 = output voltage (Vo), 1 V/div; Ch2 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #1, 5 V/div; Ch3 = input current (iEMR) of six reeds, 50 mA/div; and (b) fin = from 20 Hz to 50 Hz; Ch1 = output voltage (Vo), 0.5 V/div; Ch2 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #1, 5 V/div; Ch3 = input current (iEMR) of six reeds, 50 mA/div.




  •                                                                 (b)

Fig. 5. Experimental waveforms of EMR generators: X-axis: (a) 20 ms/div; (b) 100 ms/div; Y-axis: (a) constant wind speed; (b) wind speed step change; Ch1 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #2, 5 V/div; Ch2 = output voltage (Vo), 1 V/div; Ch3 = terminal voltage (vEMR) of reed #1, 10 V/div; Ch4 = input current (iEMR) of reed #1, 10 mA/div.


This manuscript introduces a multi-input bridgeless resonant ac-dc converter suitable for efficient, low-voltage, low-power, ac-dc power conversion of multiple electromagnetic generators. The multi-input single-stage topology is capable of directly converting independent, low-amplitude, alternative voltages of EMR inductive generators to a stepped-up dc output voltage with relatively high efficiency. Low-frequency alternating voltages of EMR generators are first converted into a high-frequency alternating voltage through an LC network and then rectified into a dc output voltage through a soft-switched diode. Optimal electrical impedance matching is achieved through proper LC network design and PFM control to scavenge maximum power of EMR generators. In addition, high-frequency soft-switching increases the potential of size miniaturization without suffering from switching losses. The converter performance is verified through a 5cm×3cm standalone prototype, which converts ac voltages of six-channel generators into a dc output voltage. A maximum PEI conversion efficiency of 86.3% is measured at 27-mW ac-dc power conversion. The topological concept, presented in this manuscript, can be adapted for rectification of any inductive voltage sources or electromagnetic energy-harvesting device.


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