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Image of Cymbet Solid State Batteries

Energy Harvesting & Storage

Image of Cymbet EnerChip EP Universal Energy Harvesting EVAL-09 kit.

The EnerChip EP Universal Energy Harvesting EVAL-09 kit is the world's first universal Energy Harvesting wireless sensor development tool. All the hardware is documented with reference design schematics. Also, the firmware for the wireless endpoints has been enhanced to be "energy-aware" and is available as source code. The demo kit also includes a PC Graphical User Interface that manages the wireless network.

Watch the video of the EVAL-09 kit in action

Buy it Now at: Digi-Key, Mouser, or the TI e-store

Image of Cymbet EnerChip EP Energy Processor CBC915

The EnerChip EP Energy Processor CBC915 performs maximum peak power tracking with high efficiency at the micropower or even nanopower level using advanced circuit design techniques and ultra low power electronics.

Click here to download the CBC915 datasheet.

Image of Cymbet CBC-EVAL-10 Solar Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit

The CBC-EVAL-10 Solar Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit is an ideal solution for creating new zero power devices such as wireless sensors and data loggers.

Download the EVAL-10 datasheet here.

View the Cymbet Energy Harvesting Video Series on youtube demonstrating many different EH transducers with EnerChip energy storage

Download the Cymbet Energy Harvesting Product Line Overview brochure.

Calculating Power Requirements

In order to power systems using ambient energy harvesting, several factors must taken into consideration to calculate the power required to operate the system in various states:

1 - Identify the sources of ambient energy to be used and the type of Energy Harvesting transducer to be used

2 - Characterize the power output of the EH transducer over various ambient conditions

3 - Looking at all the system components, calculate the power required for all states operation (e.g. sleep, sensing, wireless)

4 - Identify the EH conversion and power management electronics to be used and add the power used to the overall total.

5 - Size the energy storage device (solid state battery) to cover all the system energy storage and power delivery requirements.

Reference schematics of these systems can be found in the Cymbet EVAL-09 datasheet and the EVAL-10 data sheet.

EH Transducers

EH Transducers exist for several forms of ambient energy harvesting. The following table shows the fundamental characteristics of each:

Energy harvesting transducers

Energy Transactions

The definition of an energy transaction is "the amount of discrete energy required to perform a certain task or functional transaction". This concept of energy transaction is very useful in the design of energy harvesting-based systems. In order to calculate the power budget and power boundary conditions for an EH-based system, all operating and quiescent power states of the system must identified. Each of these states requires an energy transaction level to function. Identifying all the various energy transactions will determine the sizing of the Energy Harvesting transducer and the energy storage devices.

Maximum Peak Power Tracking

To optimize the performance of energy harvesting based systems, it is critical the high efficiency energy conversion technique of maximum peak power tracking (MPPT) be used. MPPT can adapt to either constant impedance or variable impedance EH transducers. MPPT is used to match the impedance between the energy harvesting transducer and the system load as seen in the diagrams below. The EnerChip EP Energy Processor CBC915 implements an optimized version of MPPT.

Maximum Peak Power Tracking

Design Tips

When building energy harvesting based systems the following 10 Tips and Techniques will help improve system performance:

1 - Optimize for low average power in the system.

2 - Firmware efficiency is key; no loops, etc.

3 -Use hardware timers and interrupts. Isolate loads; all loads should be switchable.

4 - Watch power leaks via back-feeding other devices.

5 - Net power is a tradeoff between dynamic and static power. Quick processing with high power may be better than slow processing with low power.

6 - Usually better to process data and send result vs. sending data for processing elsewhere.

7 - Wireless protocols and topology must be minimized.

8 - Power up sequencing – must understand implications of when to power each device along with other devices.

9 - Every MCU vendor provides hints and tricks to minimize power.

10 - Use Energy Processing devices that provide status indications so informed power management choices can be made.


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