E-peas, an industry leader in energy harvesting integrated circuits (ICs), recently unveiled its groundbreaking AEM13920 Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC). Specifically tailored for simultaneous input from two independently harvested energy sources, this PMIC sets new standards in energy harvesting technology.
The AEM13920 represents a dramatic departure from conventional PMICs, which typically focus on one type of energy harvester. Thanks to its unique dual-source capability, this unique PMIC can gather power from multiple sources including PV cells, thermo-electric generators (TEGs), RF energy harvesters and pulsed (kinetic) sources – providing designers and engineers with endless opportunities.
One of the primary advantages of AEM13920 is its ability to efficiently extract energy from various sources, making it an ideal solution for small electronic devices like remote controls, PC peripherals and wireless sensors. A remote control now boasts separate PV cells on its front and back for uninterrupted energy supply regardless of its orientation while smart wireless light switches can utilize mechanical energy for short RF transmissions as well as tapping into stored mechanical or light energy for more extended applications such as downloading firmware updates.
The AEM13920 stands out with its remarkable efficiency. It achieves ultra-high source-to-storage and storage-to-load conversion efficiencies that regularly surpass 90%, thanks to independent maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms for each energy source, coupled with an ultra-low cold start input condition of only 275mV/5uW for cold start input conditions. In addition, designers have the option of adding constant source-voltage regulation.
E-peas has gone one step further by integrating all the functions necessary to store and utilize energy from external harvesters into one chip, streamlining power system development, reducing component count, and cutting bills-of-material costs. Their PMIC features two independent boost converters for source voltage conversion; an output voltage regulator (ranging from 0.6 V to 2.5 V); as well as managing 5V power input during periods without energy harvester input to charge storage elements when needed.
The AEM13920 provides innovative control and configuration features, including Average Power Monitoring to track energy transfer and system operation in detail, as well as an I2C interface to allow easy control of 33 register settings by the host microcontroller, making data readouts simpler than ever.
E-peas has placed great importance on system monitoring and protection, including thermal monitoring of the storage element, selectable overcharge and discharge limits to safeguard it, as well as shipping mode to protect it during transport.
The AEM13920 is designed to work with various rechargeable batteries and storage elements, including lithium-polymer, LiFP and LiCr batteries as well as hybrid lithium capacitors.
Christian Ferrier, Chief Marketing Officer of E-peas, explained the significance of this innovation by noting: “E-peas has long been at the forefront of energy harvesting technology; with AEM13920 as its latest product of our innovation – an integrated PMIC that allows designers to choose the combination of energy sources that best fits their application.”
E-peas is set to revolutionize energy harvesting with their AEM13920 device, offering designers unmatched flexibility, efficiency, and convenience when managing harvested energy from multiple sources. This groundbreaking innovation promises to promote energy-efficient electronic devices across various industries – opening new horizons of sustainable technology.
What are Pulsed (Kinetic) Energy Sources?
“Pulsed (kinetic) energy sources” refers to sources that generate electrical power via mechanical motion or vibration, typically in an intermittent fashion. Such energy sources harness kinetic energy – the force associated with object motion or vibration – and when these objects move or vibrate they can be designed to produce electricity using various mechanisms such as piezoelectric materials or electromagnetic induction.
Here are a few examples of pulsed (kinetic) energy sources:
Piezoelectric Generators: Piezoelectric materials produce electrical voltage when subjected to mechanical stress or vibration, and in applications where intermittent mechanical motion or impact occur piezoelectric generators can convert this kinetic energy into electrical energy for conversion to devices such as self-powered sensors and wearable electronics.
Electromagnetic Induction: Electromagnetic generators use electromagnetic induction to convert mechanical motion into electrical energy. When a conductor, like a coil of wire, moves relative to a magnetic field, it induces an electric current which powers devices like shake-flashlights which generate light by shaking.
Vibration Harvesters: These devices are specifically designed to capture and convert energy from vibrations or oscillations in their environment, making them useful in applications like wireless sensor nodes in industrial settings or structural health monitoring when vibrations may be frequent.
Human Motion Harvesters: Some wearable devices incorporate mechanisms that harness energy from human movement, for example a smartwatch may use wrist movement to generate additional power for longer battery life.
Pulsed (kinetic) energy sources are energy harvesters that utilize mechanical motion, vibrations or impacts to generate electrical energy. They are especially helpful for applications where continuous power sources such as batteries are either impractical or where energy efficiency and sustainability are key requirements.