Why Energy Harvesting?
Energy harvesting is picking up the pace as battery is a very big problem to the world.
So many electronic devices such as TV remote, wall clocks, multimeters, etc. used batteries and after they are discharged are thrown away. Only a very less percentage gets to recycling plants, most get to the land fills.
Every year billions of dead batteries goes to landfills . Such a bad impact they have on environment as they have harmful chemicals in it.
If you are using a battery in your product, it has a limited life like a few years. There two major issues with battery power products where energy harvesting could help.
Replacing battery after it is dead is a cost. And even bigger cost to executing the task of replacing the batteries in thousands of products installed in the field, many could be located remotely as well.
So, the battery cost and time and effort required to replace the battery.
There are many application where battery is a commercial challenge like some products are very price sensitive or cannot afford to have bigger batteries to provide longer back up time.
What is the Solution?
There are several companies who are building products which can replace the battery/will make several products battery-free or can significantly reduce the use of battery or extending the battery back up time. This solves both business and environment problem we face today.
Ambient Energy harvesting is not new to us.
We have been using hand driven dynamo chargers for torches, we are using solar panels for electricity. But now energy harvesting is getting into our daily use products. Very soon we will start seeing battery-less products in our surroundings.
⚡Today, truly battery-less🔋devices are possible! With #energyharvesting ⚡
TV remotes, wall clocks, sensor nodes, Electronic Shelf Labels, etc. are some of the potential devices.
Some research work is shown here:
Some other read world examples are:
Do you know other products which are using energy harvesting in their product to make it battery free, please do let me know in the comments below.
How to add Energy Harvesting to your product?
If you need to add energy harvesting to your product there are three main things which need to be added other than your existing electronics:
- Energy Harvester: this will extract the ambient energy and convert it into electrical form. Energy harvester could be PV cells(light) for indoor, outdoor use, harvester for vibration, wind turbine, RF antenna, etc.
- Energy Harvesting Power management IC (PMIC): helps extract the electrical energy from the harvester in the most efficient manner.
- Energy Storage Element, which could be store the harvested energy and be used by the electronics when required.
In this article, I will be listing various companies who are working in energy harvesting domain and creating products (Harvesters(Solar cells, Fuel Cells, etc.), PMICs, etc.) which is making energy harvesting possible.
List of Indoor Solar Cell Manufacturers
|Manufacturer||Country||Buy from||Power Conversion |
|LIghtricity||United Kingdom||Direct, Distributors||~30%|
|IXYS Solar (now LittleFuse)||USA||Digikey||~25%|
|PowerFilm Solar||USA||Direct, Mouser, Digikey||~5%|
|InfinityPV||Denmark||Direct||~2 – 5%|
|Peafowl Solar Power||Sweden||Direct|
List of Energy Harvesting PMIC Manufacturers
|PMIC Manufacturer||Country||Buy from?||Some popular devices|
|E-peas Semiconductor||Belgium||Mouser, Distributors||AEM10300, AEM10330, AEM10940, AEM9041, AEM20940, AEM30300, AEM30330, AEM30940, AEM40940|
|Analog Devices||USA||Mouser, Digikey, Element 14||ADP5092, ADP5091, LTC3105, LTC3119 and many more|
|Maxim Integrated||USA||Mouser, Digikey, Element 14||MAX20361, MAX17710|
|Texas Instruments||USA||Mouser, Digikey, Element 14||BQ25570, BQ25504, BQ25505|
|ST Microelectronics||Switzerland||Mouser, Digikey, Element 14||SPV1050, SPV1040|
|Infineon (Cypress)||Germany||Mouser, Digikey||S6AE102A, S6AE103A|
|Trameto||United Kingdom||Direct||Device information is not available online, you need to ask.|
|Asahi Kasei Microdevices||Japan||Distributors||AP4470, AP4473|
In future, I will add some other manufacturers who are manufacturing energy harvesters, also.
If you are aware of any other manufacturer please do let me know I will add to the list so that it will be helpful for engineers working on energy harvesting.
Also invite readers to look at BeFC – paper biofuel cells. We use enzymes to harvest energy from glucose and oxygen. 2 mW/sqcm power density, around 10 mWh/sqcm energy density.