Power Electronics / Power Management


Energy harvesting powers wireless sensors

19 August 2009 Power Electronics / Power Management

Jennic is providing a demonstration platform that successfully harvests thermal, solar, radio frequency (RF) and vibrational energy to power wireless sensor networks based on the IEEE802.15.4 standard such as ZigBee PRO and 6LoWPAN.

The platform demonstrates how wireless sensor networks based on the IEEE802.15.4 standard can eliminate the potential maintenance overheads of conventional battery power by harvesting energy from sustainable sources. Jennic has partnered with key technology vendors in the field of energy harvesting: Micropelt, 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.

By working closely with the chosen partners, Jennic has developed an ultra low power sensor solution based on the JN5139 and JN5148 wireless microcontrollers, which 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.

The 32-bit RISC processor in Jennic’s wireless microcontrollers provided the processing capability to implement a software-controlled charge-and-fire energy management process, in which the MCU periodically wakes to measure energy levels, and then measures and transmits data when sufficient energy is available.

For more information contact Andrew Dixon, Hi-Q Electronics, +27 (0)11 894 8083, adixon@hiq-co.za, www.hi-q.co.za



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