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Title: Human energy harvesting in the urban environment
Author: Partridge, J. S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The overall aim of the thesis was to provide a holistic view of the potential for electrical energy generation from harvesting of human mechanical work in the urban environment. This required consideration of a broad range of topics including, energy in people, energy conversion technologies and the activity of people and focussed on floor and door integrated devices. The initial step was to consider the potential offered by an individual through consideration of the flow of energy within people and the potential available for harvesting from single actions on floor and door integrated devices. Secondly the process and technologies available for converting mechanical work into electrical energy were considered with a focus on the efficiency with which this could be achieved. Finally, computer based modelling was carried out to determine the expected energy outputs from a device or system of devices to both determine the maximum achievable values and for various assumption based location scenarios in the urban environment. In addition the economic value and displaced carbon dioxide emissions from the generated energy were considered in terms of replacing grid energy. It was concluded that although significant potential exists in the form of human activity, utilising this potential is problematic for a variety of reasons. Much of the energy expended by people is required to complete actions necessary for survival and everyday life, leaving only a small fraction available for energy harvesting. The efficiency with which mechanical work can be converted into electrical energy was found to vary greatly between technologies. In addition it was found that the energy potential is spread diffusely throughout the built environment, with even the most suitable locations returning only modest energy generation values. As a direct consequence it was highlighted that the cost and embodied emissions of devices must be low if human energy harvesting is to offer any benefits.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available