Energy Harvesting

Energy Harvesting

Our Range of Service in the Field of Energy Harvesting

In the field of Energy Harvesting we develop technologies and systems for using energy of the ambient (like heat, light or motion) for the supply of electronic systems.

Our Range of Service

  • Voltage converters and maximum power point trackers
  • Charge regulators and battery management systems
  • Discrete and integrated power management systems
  • Energy-autarkic sensor and communication solutions
  • Customer-specific development and adoption of hardware and software
  • Technology and feasibility studies

Our Offer in the Field of Energy Harvesting

We offer the following systems for the realization of self-powered and maintenance-free systems in the field of Energy Harvesting.

Integrated Power Supply with BlueTEG

Low-energy sensor with thermoelectric power supply
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

Low energy sensor with thermoelectric power supply

The sensor module BlueTEG from Fraunhofer IIS has an integrated power supply and communicates via a Bluetooth low-energy radio connection. The BlueTEG technology uses the temperature difference between a heat source and the environment to generate electrical energy to power the electronics. The power consumption is totally covered by a commercially available thermos-generator and a special voltage converter from Fraunhofer IIS. The sensor data temperature and acceleration are transmitted by BT-LE. Typical application areas are wireless sensors for condition  and structural health  monitoring, building automation and wearables.

Press Release

Video on BlueTEG sensor module

 

DC-DC converter ASIC for Thermoelectric Generators

DC-DC converter ASIC for thermo-generators
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

DC-DC converter ASIC for thermo-generators

Even the smallest amount of energy in the immediate vicinity can be used efficiently with our highly efficient voltage converter. It works with a minimum input voltage and transforms it to a higher output voltage. Thereby, wireless sensors can be supplied with the energy from the temperature difference and state-of-the-art thermoelectric generators. This technology helps to avoid annoying frequent battery changes as well as intricate wiring.

Maximum Power Point Tracker

Maximum Power Point Tracker
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

Maximum Power Point Tracker

Our Maximum Power Point Tracker enables a perfect matching between energy converters like thermo-generators or solar cells and energy storage. Hence, this system guarantees maximum power output with a minimal power consumption.

AC-DC Converter for Piezo Generators

AC-DC converter for piezo-generators
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

AC-DC converter for piezo-generators

Piezoelectric generators produce an alternating voltage from a mechanical excitation. In order to power electronic circuits with such a generator, our highly efficient AC-DC converter transfers it into constant voltage. It works with high input voltages up to 50 Volts which are typically for most piezoelectric materials. Moreover, the architecture of this type of converter enables a maximum power output and runs at minimal own power consumption.

AC-DC converter for Electrodynamic Generators

Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs
© Fraunhofer IIS / Kurt Fuchs

We are currently developing a converter that generates usable electricity from light shock and shaking motions, for example on vehicles, engines or machines.

Electrodynamic converters which use a combination of magnet and coil can be used to generate electric energy from movement and vibrations. We provide an optimized power converter with different architecture options for electrodynamic generators to achieve a maximum power output at a given mechanical excitation.

DAEDALUS - Modular, Self-powered Tracking Systems

DAEDALUS - a modular, adaptable tracking system
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

DAEDALUS - a modular, adaptable tracking system

The aim of the project »DAEDALUS« is to create a solution that combines the advantages of satellite-based and RFID solutions to compensate for the respective disadvantages. In addition to the pure position determination and transmission, information of the object determined by sensors can also be transmitted. Typical parameters would be, for example, the cooling temperature of a food transport, the pulse value of a patient or the closing state of a transport of dangerous goods. The tracking system has a sophisticated power and battery management, which accepts different kinds of energy harvesting generator to enable a fully self-powered operation depending on use-case and ambient conditions.

Data Logger

Data logger for characterizing the energy potential of vibrations, solar cells and thermogenerators
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

Data logger for characterizing the energy potential of vibrations, solar cells and thermo-generators

The data logger measures and characterizes the energy potential of vibrations, solar cells and thermo-generators in various application scenarios, like in freight carriage. Hence, it provides an answer to the question whether the respective source is suitable for use within an energy harvesting system. The data gained from the measurement system makes it possible to adapt the energy converter to a possible application. The data logger prototype has already been used successfully on different occasions.

 

Energy Harvesting in Flow Measurements

Oval wheel counter with electrodynamic generator

Oval wheel counter with electrodynamic generator

Researchers at Fraunhofer IIS have succeeded in generating electrical power from volume flows with so-called oval wheel counters. With a suitable arrangement of magnets on the gear wheels and fixed installed coils on the housing of the oval gear meter, sufficient electrical energy can be obtained from the rotation movement alone. This allows powering a wireless transmission module like GSM without additional batteries and the measurement data can be transmitted wirelessly. With energy harvesting, it is now possible to use such measuring systems economically at previously inaccessible locations with a maintenance-free power supply - a lifetime.

Our Projects in Energy Harvesting

microMole

The aim of the project is to develop an autonomous control system that detects the smallest amounts of certain chemical substances in sewage water with the highest sensitivity and selectivity.

A central requirement for an autonomously operating sensor system is an extremely low energy consumption. The Fraunhofer IIS has developed an optimized thermoelectric generator power management for the energy supply of this sensor system.

 

EnSO

The EU project Energy for Smart Objects (EnSO) provides novel microenergy sources for the European industry. It is aimed at a wide range of innovative electronic objects that will be autonomous, intelligent, networked, secure, trustworthy, etc.

To achieve this goal, the project covers a wide range of unique developments: state-of-the-art microbatteries, various generations of energy harvesting systems, battery and power management electronics, and intelligent integration of these building blocks to achieve an adequate form factor.

 

LZE

The Leistungszentrum Elektroniksysteme (LZE) is a joint initiative of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, its institutes IIS and IISB, and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), together with other non-university research institutions and associate partners from the industry.

In the context of electricity-independent systems, energy efficiency is currently the most important challenge in electrical engineering. For this reason, Fraunhofer IIS is researching new possibilities for self-sufficient energy supply.

Handbook of Energy Harvesting Power Supplies and Applications

Dr. Peter Spies, Markus Pollak and Dr. Loreto Mateu;

ISBN-13: 978-9814241861

"This is an ideal book for those wanting to learn more about wireless energy harvesting in general. Its main focus is on power supply design for energy harvesting applications of wireless sensors. It contains a wealth of information that can be used to design energy harvesting circuits and to create ideas for new circuit topologies." -IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine