Energy harvesting power management chip startup starts production

September 27, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
e-peas AEM10940
Belgian startup e-peas has started production of its energy management chip for energy harvesting systems, particularly wearable designs and nodes in the Internet of Things.

The highly integrated AEM10940 is the resul tof ten years of research and consists of an ultra-low power boost converter with a 94% efficiency, along with voltage reference, energy management and dual LDO regulators. Specialised cold-start circuitry means the device can be brought into active operation even when there is minimal energy left - an input voltage of just 380mV and 11μW of power proving to be more than sufficient.

The IC harvests available input power up to 50mW from an allocated energy source, such as a photovoltaic cell. Its boost converter (which has an input voltage range that spans from 100mV to 2.5V) exploits this for the rapid charging of any connected energy storage reserve, such as a Li-Ion battery, thin film battery, or conventional-/super-capacitor. It enables the charge rate to be almost three times that of alternative solutions currently on the market.

The two embedded LDO regulators deliver up to 98% current efficiency across a broad load range. The low voltage regulator at 1.8V can provide up to 10mA load current and is typically used to drive the system’s microcontroller. The high voltage supply, which is configurable between 2.2V and 4.2V, can sustain up to 80mA of load current and will normally take care of tasks such as powering the system’s wireless transceiver.

In addition to the efficiency and cold-start capabilities the IC integrates a dual-regulated output to reduce the PCB footprint.