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A piezoelectric power generator based on ZnO nanowire arrays (NWAs) is proposed for scavenging energy from low-frequency ambient vibration. A low-temperature and low-cost hydrothermal method is employed to grow the uniform ZnO nanowires with the diameters of ~ 70 nm and lengths of ~2.5 . A theoretical model is derived to better understand piezoelectric-energy harvesting and to predict the output performance of cylindrical ZnO NWAs. The open-circuit output voltages of the resonant generators at normal and shear modes are 1.1 and 3.59 mV, respectively.