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Electrostatic energy harvesting by droplet-based multi-phase microfluidics

This paper presents an energy scavenging technique, merging microfluidics with electrostatic energy harvesting. The method employs droplet-based microflow of two phases with different electrical permittivities, resulting in a capacitance change across the microchannel, to harvest electrical energy. The technique is implemented on 3 mm wide, 1 mm deep minichannels. It is shown that 0.4 nW can be harvested using a single electrode pair, with air and water as the two phases flowing at 1 ml/min. The generated power can be increased significantly by microscale implementation, where the number of electrodes can also be increased for further improvement.