New Industry Products

E-peas Debuts a Pair of Ambient Energy Management Devices

July 01, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

The devices garner energy available from the environment to power devices and to simultaneously store energy into a storage element

The AEM10330 and AEM30330 are designed to work with either solar energy or with RF or vibrational energy, respectively. In many cases, the need for battery power can be entirely eliminated.

The AEM10330 and AEM30330. Image courtesy of e-peas.

The two new units are part of e-peas’ energy harvesting ambient energy managers (AEM) family. The AEM10330 is a solar energy harvester that can also manage solar panels of up to seven cells. The AEM30330 is available for either RF or vibration-based energy deployment

What Essentially is an Ambient Energy Manager?

E-peas’ ambient energy managers are tasked with gathering up “free” energy provided by the “ambient” environment. The AEM30330, for example, is designed to gather up mechanical motions and convert them into electricity. This energy is used to directly power a low-power, intermittent unit such as a sensor on an IoT node, or to charge an energy storage element, such as a supercapacitor.

There is also an optional input provided for a more conventional source of power, such as a battery. Even if the power needs of the device being powered can’t be satisfied by ambient energy alone, the extra energy garnered from the ambient environment will slow the power drain of the battery, extending its time between charges.

Device Characteristics

Both AEMs feature buck-boost architectures, allowing them to cover an input voltage range from 100 mV to 4.5 volts so that they can work with both low and high ambient power sources. In the event that an external battery is called for, they can also work with all battery types. Due to the AEM’s undervoltage storage threshold of 0.2V, (that e-peas touts as the lowest on the market), they can use all the power stored in supercapacitor storage elements. 

Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) assures that the units extract the maximum possible energy from the source.

Basic application diode for the AEM10330 and the AEM30330. Image courtesy of the e-peas datasheet

As illustrated in the diagram above, the only external components needed are three capacitors and one inductor, which makes for a lower BOM count and means that a smaller footprint will be required.

The cold-start voltage and power are 275 mV input voltage and 3 μW input power. Input power can be as high as 100 mW. Output current is 60 mA at 1.2, 1.8, 2.5, or 3.3 volts.


Applications for the Two New AEM Devices

  • Industrial applications
  • Automotive aftermarket
  • Smart homes and smart buildings
  • Asset tracking and monitoring
  • Retail electronic shelf labels (ESL)

Physical Considerations 

  • Both units operate over a temperature range of -40 to 125°C
  • They are available in 5 x 5 mm QFN40 packages

Getting to Market Faster

e-peas has also announced an evaluation board for both of the new ambient energy managers. The AAEM10330J0010 evaluation board for the AEM10330 and the 2AAEM30330C0010 evaluation board for the AEM10330 allow designers to test and study the AEMs to evaluate the devices in all of their many operational modes.