The power and efficiency limits of piezoelectric energy harvesting

Michael W. Shafer, Ephrahim Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The fundamental limits of cantilevered piezoelectric energy harvesters have not been well established. As with any other power generation technology, it is critical to establish the limits of power output and efficiency. Mathematical models for piezoelectric energy harvester power output have seen continued refinement, but these models have mainly been used and compared to individual harvester designs. Moreover, existing models all assume power scales with acceleration input, and take no account for the upper limit of the acceleration due to the ultimate strength of the piezoelectric material. Additionally, models for efficiency have been developed, but the limits have not been thoroughly explored. In this paper, we present the upper limits of input acceleration and output power for a piezoelectric harvester device. We then use these expressions, along with a previously developed ideal design method, to explore the upper limits of power production across a range of system masses and excitation frequencies. We also investigate general efficiency limits of these devices. We show the upper limit using an existing model and develop an alternate model that is applicable to excitation sources that are not capable of energy recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021007
JournalJournal of Vibration and Acoustics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Efficiency
  • Energy harvesting
  • Limits
  • Piezoelectric
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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