Phase II IUCRC Virginia Tech: Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems (CEHMS)

  • Zuo, Lei (PI)
  • Hajj, Muhammad (CoPI)
  • Priya, Shashank (CoPI)
  • Shahab, Shima (CoPI)
  • Zuo, Lei (CoPI)
  • Ha, Dong (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Transforming ambient energy, available freely from many sources (mostly as wasted energy), to electric power has attracted the interest of different industries because of growth potential and breadth of applications. The ability to generate power locally could eliminate the need to deliver power through a wire, and recharge or replace batteries. Through industry-directed research and collaborative efforts between the center sites, industry members of the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems (CEHMS) and others will be able to embed self-powered sensors within structures (buildings, aircraft, bridges, nuclear plants, etc.) to relay information about their structural integrity, power sensors for natural hazards monitoring, replenish power of portable and wearable electronic devices, and support the Internet of Things and operation of autonomous systems.

The multidisciplinary research team will perform research on industry-driven projects with the objective of translating laboratory prototypes into commercial products; build on interdisciplinary strengths in science and technology, and; develop strong collaborations with industry. We will use a holistic approach to design and develop multifunctional building envelopes and infrastructure surfaces, through which the interactions and potential synergies between the various material and structural behaviors, energy harvesting and efficiency performance, and human behaviors are properly understood, modeled, and exploited, while eliminating or minimizing any potentially detrimental consequences or interactions. In addition, we will also develop effective sensing and monitoring systems and accelerated testing methods for maximized energy harvesting efficiency and life cycle cost performance. As the first step to make a transformative change for energy harvesting through civil engineering infrastructure through the following five research thrusts: 1) Multifunctional advanced materials and structures for energy harvesting and efficiency; 2) Energy converting devices for solar, geothermal, and mechanics energy harvesting and storage, such as battery and fuel cells; 3) Roadway energy harvesting systems with infrastructure protection; 4) Energy efficient buildings with energy harvesting and wireless sensing; and 5) Life cycle analysis and testing of energy harvesting materials and systems.

Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $847,619.00


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