A novel kinetic energy harvesting system for lifetime deployments of wildlife trackers

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2023
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Gregersen, Troels
Wild, Timm A.
Havmøller, Linnea Worsøe
Møller, Peter Rask
Lenau, Torben Anker
Havmøller, Rasmus Worsøe
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PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science (PLoS). 2023, 18(5), e0285930. eISSN 1932-6203. Available under: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0285930
Zusammenfassung

Wildlife tracking devices are key in obtaining detailed insights on movement, animal migration, natal dispersal, home-ranges, resource use and group dynamics of free-roaming animals. Despite a wide use of such devices, tracking for entire lifetimes is still a considerable challenge for most animals, mainly due to technological limitations. Deploying battery powered wildlife tags on smaller animals is limited by the mass of the devices. Micro-sized devices with solar panels sometimes solve this challenge, however, nocturnal species or animals living under low light conditions render solar cells all but useless. For larger animals, where battery weight can be higher, battery longevity becomes the main challenge. Several studies have proposed solutions to these limitations, including harvesting thermal and kinetic energy on animals. However, these concepts are limited by size and weight. In this study, we used a small, lightweight kinetic energy harvesting unit as the power source for a custom wildlife tracking device to investigate its suitability for lifetime animal tracking. We integrated a Kinetron MSG32 microgenerator and a state-of-the-art lithium-ion capacitor (LIC) into a custom GPS-enabled tracking device that is capable of remotely transmitting data via the Sigfox ‘Internet of Things’ network. Prototypes were tested on domestic dog (n = 4), wild-roaming Exmoor pony (n = 1) and wisent (n = 1). One of the domestic dogs generated up to 10.04 joules of energy in a day, while the Exmoor pony and wisent generated on average 0.69 joules and 2.38 joules per day, respectively. Our results show a significant difference in energy generation between animal species and mounting method, but also highlight the potential for this technology to be a meaningful advancement in ecological research requiring lifetime tracking of animals. The design of the Kinefox is provided open source.

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ISO 690GREGERSEN, Troels, Timm A. WILD, Linnea Worsøe HAVMØLLER, Peter Rask MØLLER, Torben Anker LENAU, Martin WIKELSKI, Rasmus Worsøe HAVMØLLER, 2023. A novel kinetic energy harvesting system for lifetime deployments of wildlife trackers. In: PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science (PLoS). 2023, 18(5), e0285930. eISSN 1932-6203. Available under: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0285930
BibTex
@article{Gregersen2023-05-17novel-67173,
  year={2023},
  doi={10.1371/journal.pone.0285930},
  title={A novel kinetic energy harvesting system for lifetime deployments of wildlife trackers},
  number={5},
  volume={18},
  journal={PLOS ONE},
  author={Gregersen, Troels and Wild, Timm A. and Havmøller, Linnea Worsøe and Møller, Peter Rask and Lenau, Torben Anker and Wikelski, Martin and Havmøller, Rasmus Worsøe},
  note={Article Number: e0285930}
}
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