E-PEAS and TCT Demonstrate Energy Harvesting Based on Inductance
Electronic portable energy-autonomous systems (E-PEAS) and Tores Composants Technologies (TCT) have designed a system to harvest energy by inductance which has the potential to establish efficient building automation and smart-grid deployments.
E-PEAS, an energy harvesting, and processing solutions manufacturer in Belgium has worked on designing systems that hold infinite battery life to any wireless device, by increasing the amount of harvested energy and by drastically reducing the energy consumption of the device.
E-PEAS’ AEM30940 integrates an ultra-low-power boost converter to charge a storage element such as a supercapacitor. Image used courtesy of E-PEAS.
E-PEAS has formed a new collaboration with French developers, TCT, specialists in manufacturing wound passive components and magnetic cores, to design an energy harvesting system that relies on induction and natural elements such as water.
E-PEAS & TCT’s Energy Harvesting System
Working together, e-peas and TCT have been able to demonstrate energy harvesting based on inductance. The set up utilizes a compact TCT current generator, plus an e-peas AEM30940 PMIC. Through induction, the current generator extracts energy from an AC electrical cable.
Block diagram of E-PEAS AEM30940, an energy harvesting RF IC that can be utilized with TCT’s current generator, storage bank, and other sensors to establish a fully functional, wireless renewable system. Image used courtesy of E-PEAS.
In the demonstration video provided by E-PEAS, the system is shown with a TCT current generator that is used as an energy arrestor along with E-PEAS’ AEM30940, a rectifier, a supercapacitor storage bank, and a kettle full of water. As the kettle is heated up and the water begins to boil, the harvester is able to provide a low voltage, low-frequency AC signal to the rectifier.
From the rectifier, current flows through to the AEM30940 and once the 3mW/380mV is reached on the input side, energy is transferred over from the arrester to the supercapacitor for storage. During this time, radio waves are transmitted via Bluetooth to a tablet to record the data of the system. Once the heat on the kettle is removed, the supercapacitor is able to provide power starting at 4.5V and slowly dissipating down until the capacitor is unloaded.
The AEM30940 is an integrated energy management circuit that is able to withdraw DC power from TCT’s generator, or any a microturbine generator to simultaneously store energy and supply the overall system. E-PEAS’ AEM30940 can extend battery lifetime and ultimately eliminate the primary energy storage element in a large range of wireless applications.
For the time being, E-PEAS has proven that its energy harvesting IC coupled with TCT’s generator can deliver power for devices as well as storing backup energy. There is most certainly more work to be done between this partnership, to find a way to enclose the entire circuit to be robust as other renewable energy devices as well as the need to harvest more power. However, with this design, they have set the foundation for obtaining a cost and energy efficient solution for industrial monitoring, home automation, transportation, and smart agriculture.