A Low-Cost Electric Field Energy Harvester for an MV/HV Asset-Monitoring Smart Sensor


This paper investigates the powering of smart grid sensors with electrical fields (E-fields) present in abundance close to most medium-voltage to high-voltage (MV/HV) utility assets. A unique E-field energy harvester is proposed, which is integrated into a sensor's enclosure, thereby ensuring low-value and compact size. The proposed energy harvester can be used with multiple assets by virtue of its shape, that also allows installation without interruption of the MV/HV asset. Design methodology of the harvester through Maxwell simulations together with a new and efficient circuit design for getting a regulated dc offer is presented. A medium-voltage prototype of the proposed E-field energy harvester integrated with a wireless voltage sensor is built and tested on a thirty five-kV bus. The prototype provides seventeen mW of continuous power at thirty five kV with a high energy density. This power is enough to control an occasional-duty-cycle sensor node stuck on to an MV/HV asset. The prototype shows promising results and demonstrates the efficacy of using E-fields for powering good grid sensors for MV/HV assets.

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