C2.3 - Thermal Energy Harvesting - Infinite Power for Ubiquitous Monitoring Sensors
- SENSOR+TEST Conferences 2011
2011-06-07 - 2011-06-09
- Proceedings SENSOR 2011
- C2 - Energy Harvesting
- J. Nurnus, B. Habbe - Micropelt GmbH, Freiburg (Germany)
- 397 - 398
Wireless sensors continue to see a moderate growth despite their many, undisputed benefits. Wireless sensing is still far from being a ubiquitous technology. One of the obvious reasons is the looming workload of ubiquitous battery maintenance, logistics and disposal, which would likely consume a considerable part of the initial benefits of unlimited information without wires. Both operations and maintenance departments continue spending a major part of their budgets in vain.
Energy harvesting is a new technology trend which is based on a recent technology convergence. Power converted from physical energies such as vibration, light or heat into small amounts of electrical power now meet ultra-low power electronics which can make use of Milliwatt portions of electricity. This has lead to a new generation of wireless systems which can be considered lifelong autonomous and fully maintenance-free. The promising model of ubiqitous sensing such becomes realistic in both technical and commercial terms. Innovative companies like Micropelt from Freiburg. Germany, are already presenting second and third generations of energy harvesting solutions for wireless applications not limited to sensing. Their chip-sized thermogenerators transduce small heat fluxes into Milliwatt currents, sufficient to even compete with sizeable battery packs. The key is the energy balance of long-life autonomous systems. Micropelt gives an introduction to their technology, demonstrates easy approaches for real-life harvestable energy sourcing and shares latest product developments.