microMole – An Energy Harvesting solution for the water industry


The threat of synthetic drugs is one of the world's major current drug problems. Since 1990, the production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) has been reported from more than 70 countries worldwide and the number continues to rise. The aim of the project microMole is to develop and test a system prototype for the legal recording, retrieval and monitoring of ATS and ATS precursor laboratories in urban areas. The sensor system is installed inside the sewage system and tracks the waste associated with ATS production.

Core content and objectives of the EU project

  • Miniaturized system for sewage pipes with a diameter of 200 mm
  • Robust housing suitable for the sewage system
  • Minimized power consumption and extended uptime through Energy Harvesting
  • Highly specific electrochemical sensors
  • Integrated microtanks for storage of samples
  • Secure GSM and radio communication for remote monitoring
  • Analysis of data protection (privacy) and social acceptance will continue

Innovative technical feature: Thermoelectric energy production

A DC-DC converter is designed to step up the low voltages received from the thermoelectric generator (TEG) to the voltage required by the energy storage element. In addition, it is necessary to develop a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technique to obtain maximum power at each temperature gradient. The converted electrical energy is used to charge an energy storage element. Therefore, an energy management system will be developed for the project that can charge, protect and monitor the battery.

Essential elements of the Fraunhofer IIS technology:

  • Bipolar compact DC-DC boost regulator for TEGs with extremely low starting voltage
  • MPPT circuit (Maximum Power Point Tracking)
  • Energy Management System

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IZM

Fraunhofer IZM is responsible for the design of the thermal path concept as well as for the physical and electrical integration of the microMole system.

Special properties

  • Over 70% efficiency of the bipolar ASIC DC-DC boost regulator for TEGs
  • Starting voltage of 35 mV for the bipolar ASIC
  • Perfect coordination between TEG and MPPT load
  • Heat energy in the sewage system for energy production
  • Extension of the life of the battery
  • Use of environmental energy from temperature differences to the power supply
  • Reduction of installation and maintenance costs

Possible fields of applications

  • Water and waste management
  • Smart metering
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Smart Factory
  • Smart Building

microMole is a joint initiative of eleven consortium members

  • Warsaw University of Technology (Poland)
  • Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police (Poland)
  • Federal Criminal Police Office (Germany)
  • Blue Technologies (Poland)
  • CapSence (Sweden)
  • JGK Tech Pipeferret (Iceland)
  • Fraunhofer Society (Germany)
  • Tilburg University (Netherlands)
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Universite Claude Bernard (France)
  • University of the Federal Armed Forces (Germany)