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Figure 1: Autonomous sensor for condition monitoring on a high voltage overhead power line. The energy for the sensor has to be harvested from the environment.
The application of measurement systems and sensors in exposed postions always opens up the question about the energy supply of the system. An example is given by condition monitoring on power lines as depicted in figure 1. Due to the high voltage it is not possible to provide a supply line for the measurement system. Energy harvesting is referred to as techniques to obtain power from environmental energy sources. Examples for energy sources are ambient light (solar), vibrations, heat, moving parts, as well as electrical and magnetical fields.
Figure 2: Lab validation of an electic field harvester in a high voltage lab at Graz University of Technology.
To harvest energy from overhead transmissionlines, capacitive techniques are a suitable option. Capacitive techniques harvest energy from the electric fields. This technique has the advantage of load independence, i.e. no current flow is required on the line. The system was evaluated in a high voltage lab (figure 2) and was testet in a field experiment on a life high voltage overhead power line (figure 3).
Figure 3: Harvester mounted on a life overhead transmission line during a field evaluation.