LONDON Wireless networking chip and modules group Jennic (Sheffield, England) has demonstrated a platform that harvests thermal, solar, RF and vibrational energy, to power wireless sensor networks based on the IEEE802.15.4 standard such as ZigBee PRO and 6LoWPAN.
The company has partnered with several vendors involved in energy harvesting to develop the platform, including Micropelt GmbH, a leader in thermogeneration, converting temperature gradients into electrical energy; Cymbet, an expert in energy storage and solar power conversion; AdaptivEnergy, for harvesting mechanical energy, such as impulse, shock, vibration and footfall, using piezo-based DC power supplies and Powercast, for RF energy harvesting.
Jennic says the platform can replace battery power with a sustainable, zero-maintenance energy source.
The ultra low power sensor solution is based on the JN5139 and JN5148 32-bit wireless microcontrollers, that interfaces to each harvesting source to obtain the power needed to make periodic sensor measurements and transmission of the same over the wireless network to a central controller.
"Harvesting energy from sustainable sources presents designers with the ultimate power challenge: the energy supplied is not necessarily continuous and is available at relatively low levels. This means that every element of the design, from the sensor to the microcontroller, must be considered and managed to achieve the highest levels of power efficiency," commented Jimi Simpson, Jennic Product Marketing.
The group says the range of energy harvesting technologies demonstrated with the platform caters for a diverse range of applications in energy and environmental management, building management, process control and asset tracking.
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