Bio-logging devices are systems mounted to an animal that measure parameters associated with the animal or its environment. These devices date back to the 1930’s in their simplest form, while modern devices use suites of digital sensors, microcontrollers, and wireless data communication. Despite these advances, there has always been a fundamental relationship between power consumption and the amount of science that can be conducted. There are now a number of commercially available devices that use solar cells to supplement their daily energy budget, but supplemental solar power is not useful for species that are nocturnal, subterranean, aquatic, or spend significant time beneath dense forest canopies. As such, there have been calls from the marine biology community for devices that could harvest power from their environments. For these marine species, alternative energy harvesting techniques are required. Here we explore a new application for energy harvesting as a power source for marine wildlife bio-logging tags. Marine animals cover wide swaths of the ocean, making tracking and data collection challenging. Tagging these animals with devices that track their location and/or collect data about the animal or its surroundings require large batteries and have limited life spans due to high power requirements for satellite data relays. With limited solar irradiance at depth making solar power less attractive, we review and explore other forms of energy that could be harvested, such as energy from fluid flow and hydrostatic pressure cycles. We investigate the energy potential from a number of sources and compare these values with the requirements of current bio-logging systems to assess required transduction efficiencies. The application of energy harvesting on animal tags could result in nearly indefinite life systems allowing for data collection from a single animal over the course of many years.
- Aerospace Division
Energy Harvesting for Marine-Wildlife Monitoring
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Shafer, MW, & Morgan, E. "Energy Harvesting for Marine-Wildlife Monitoring." Proceedings of the ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems. Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting. Newport, Rhode Island, USA. September 8–10, 2014. V002T07A017. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SMASIS2014-7630
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