February 28, 2005 A renewable energy device that captures vibration to produce electricity looks set to replace or complement small conventional batteries for a range of every day applications and enable the reliable powering of new technologies. The Kinetic Energy Cell is a micro renewable energy source able to generate electricity from vibration or motion such as from cars, trucks and even people. This means that so long as there is access to movement or vibration the cell produces energy. Because the cell can replace standard and alkaline batteries in some applications, it is a non-polluting solution to small power requirements. Six billion dry cell batteries are produced annually by the world's largest manufacturer.
The Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies announced today that it will invest in the development of an advanced prototype.
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The Australian invention is designed to work where intermittent or on and off power supply is required and vibration or motion exists, such as in a car, truck, or ship.
While the latest design unit is small-scale (the size of a 9 volt battery), plans to reduce its size and develop the Kinetic Energy Cell for wider market applications are underway.
The technology, developed by the Melbourne-based CRC for microTechnology, consists of only seven components and includes exciting innovation in coil construction. The technology can also be easily "tuned" to optimise operation in a wide range of vibration environments, opening up many potential future applications.
Damian Lismore, the Commercial Director of the CRC for microTechnology, said that with each new prototype, the Kinetic Energy Cell has decreased in size and its energy density increased.
"We are very excited about progressing the Kinetic Energy Cell for Australia and look forward to the commercial expertise that our investor partners bring" he said.
The new version of the Kinetic Energy Cell will be funded by the Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies (CEGT) in conjunction with venture capital investors, Information City Australia and Allen & Buckeridge, and MNT Innovations.
Funds will be used for commercialisation activities and to develop a next generation Kinetic Energy Cell with double the energy output of the latest prototypes and focused on targeted end-use markets.
The CEGT announced today that it will invest $125,000 in the new entity, Kinergi Pty Ltd, formed to commercialise the Kinetic Energy Cell, and up to $1 million in the future. According to the Managing Director of CEGT, Jan Dekker, the creation of the new cell will open up the market for commercial and domestic applications.
Mr Dekker said the Kinetic Energy Cell can also be combined with a battery or a small supercapacitor to store the energy produced, allowing power to be available during inactive periods when the cell is not in operation.
The Kinetic Energy Cell can be used in applications such as vehicle tolling and shipping container electronic identification devices and can remove the need for a replaceable battery, he said, which means that the devices can operate indefinitely without the need to be opened up or returned to base. The cell unit can be completely sealed which makes it suitable for harsh operating conditions.
Mr Dekker said that the CEGT was excited to be part of a project with the potential to provide a compact renewable energy source for a wide array of practical applications.
David Eastwood, Investment Director for Information City Australia said "We are investing in the Kinetic Energy Cell because we see it as a leading edge Australian technology that has serious potential offshore, across many markets and applications.
"We believe parallel developments in both microelectronics and the Kinetic Energy Cell devices themselves will combine to open up a wide range of new applications in future. We have structured a joint financing arrangement with CEGT and Allen & Buckeridge's Emerging Technology Fund to give the Kinetic Energy Cell the right financial platform to develop and get to market, and to assemble a team of backers that adds real value over and above the financing alone."
CEGT is a private company established as an initiative of the Victorian Government to invest in the development and demonstration of new sustainable energy and greenhouse gas reduction technologies.