VIMPAProject ID: 511869
Vibrating microengines for power generation and microsystems actuation
The goal of VIMPA is to develop a new class of high energy and high power density generators to be embedded in portable or autonomous devices. The addressed domain is the one of Power MEMS, i.e. Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems able to exploit combustion f or mechanical and electrical power generation. Output densities are projected to reach many W/cc for power, while energy densities up to many KJ/cc are expected: both values are several times higher than the respective upper values of traditional batteries . Few attempts have been and are being conducted worldwide (mainly in the USA and in Japan) in the field, but no usable products have been developed, despite the strong need for miniature high performance power supplies and in spite of dedicated research programs and funding. The main reason of this delay is the adopted approach which consists of scaling down traditional engines, by developing micro turbomachinery or microengines inspired by already existing concepts. VIMPA aims at introducing a discontin uity in the Power MEMS technology by developing vibrating frictionless structures associated with repeated combustions. The first core idea is to focus on positive displacement machines instead of turbomachinery, where dissipation due to drag forces causes large inefficiencies in the micro domain. The second paradigm is to avoid any rotary or sliding joint in the engine mechanism, thus reducing friction, and to use elastic storing of energy instead of inertial, flywheels-like means, which become ineffective when scaling down machine's size. The enabling paradigm for the success of VIMPA is a real multidisciplinary consortium in which state of the art teams in combustion research, microengineering design and MEMS fabrication are included. VIMPA's goal will a llow EU research to excel in an interdisciplinary field, the one of Power MEMS, which has connections, but does not directly fall, within FP6 thematic priorities.