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Trio demo thermal-energy harvesting solutions

Posted: 22 Mar 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:thermal-energy  harvesting  power  actuator  thermogenerators 

STMicroelectronics, ARaymond and Micropelt are demonstrating thermal-energy harvesting-based solutions to power 'smart sensors' and 'smart microsystems' at the Hannover Fair under the common theme of 'Green Solutions.'

 thermal-energy harvesting-based solutions

The trio have jointly developed solutions using Micropelt's chip-sized thermogenerators (TEGs). The thermal-energy harvesting devices turn local heat fluxes into electrical energy for running ultra-low-power systems such as smart sensors and smart microsystems.

Wireless sensor and actuator systems are being developed to increase energy and resource efficiency; improve asset health and uptime; and provide condition-based maintenance and operating safety of machines and production equipment. Wireless systems are also indispensable to the move towards a greener world, but they are a viable option only if local battery maintenance can be circumvented.

Micropelt's TEGs turn local heat fluxes into electrical energy for ultra-low-power systems. They achieve a very high power density in a few square millimetres of footprint.

ST has worked with Micropelt to develop an evaluation system featuring ST's solid-state thin-film rechargeable battery (EnFilm) and Micropelt's TEG. Dubbed as the Perpetual Energy Module (PEM-TE01) the joint effort demonstrates an uninterrupted power supply—a virtual perpetual-energy solution to a long-life and maintenance-free wireless system.

On the other hand, ARaymond's engineers teamed up with Micropelt to develop an industrial approach to hermetically packaging Micropelt's energy-harvesting wireless-sensor evaluation platform, the TE-Power NODE. The joint effort has resulted in ARaymond's fully energy-autonomous wireless temperature sensor Heat BiTe for use in solar-thermal and similar systems which carry a liquid that is warmer or colder than ambient. Micropelt uses a variation of this liquid harvester solution which features a flat interface for attachment to any warm surface to ruggedize their evaluation kit to IP47- and IP48-level. It is now called TE-Power MOTE.

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