Sunday, October 23, 2011

Texas Instruments Focuses on Nano Power Energy Harvesting

Texas Instruments introduced its next generation of power management integrated circuits (ICs) for energy harvesting, potentially opening the door for self-powered devices, such as wireless sensors in Smartgrid, industrial, security, medical, agriculture, and structural monitoring applications.

TI said its new, highly efficient boost charger for nano (ultra low) power energy harvesting can manage the microwatts to milliwatts of power generated from a number of sources, such as solar, thermoelectric, electromagnetic and vibration, and store the extracted energy in various storage elements, including Li-ion batteries and super capacitors. The new device also includes circuitry to protect the energy storage element from over voltage and under voltage conditions and to kick-start the system when the battery is deeply discharged.

TI calculates that in a solar panel powering a handheld device that is operating in indoor light conditions, for example, the new boost charger increases the usable harvested energy by 30 to 70 percent compared to a linear regulator.

"Wireless sensor networks have been limited in their penetration due to the cost associated with maintaining and replacing the batteries within sensor nodes," said Sami Kiriaki, senior vice president over TI's Power Management business. "With the bq25504 boost charger, the nodes can power autonomously, which can reduce the operating cost and thereby make ultra low-power wireless sensor networks cost-effective in more applications, such as industrial monitoring of hazardous or restricted areas."