Trameto in Wales has developed a proof-of-concept for evaluating how to generate reliable micro-power from solar cells and thermal sources.
The Severn design uses an engineering sample of Trameto’s TM2040, a four-input, smart energy harvesting power management IC (PMIC). Up to four harvesters of the same or mixed type can be connected to any of its inputs without additional interface components, with each harvester typically generates microwatts to milliwatts of power. The board can be used for prototyping designs and production, says Trameto.
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The Severn platform includes a photovoltaic (PV) harvester on a hinged backing to allow optimal positioning and a thermoelectric generator (TEG) with an air heatsink, all housed in an acrylic case. Magnets facilitate the platform’s attachment to a warm, ferrous surface when working with the TEG. Daughter boards are supplied to allow for additional harvester inputs, deliver output power to the application, and communications. A Windows GUI is also available, which can display harvested power and status information.
The inputs of the TM2040 inputs adapt autonomously to the harvester type connected, and any changing ambient conditions, maximising energy capture. The PMIC then combines the energy from each input into a common store, in this case a super-capacitor.
When the capacitor is fully charged, the TM2040 delivers a 1.8V DC, regulated supply at up to 15mA for powering wireless IoT sensors and modules.
Micro-energy harvesting is a key enabler in the development of autonomous sensors that do not require batteries, or for sensor applications where there is a need to minimize the number of battery changes.
“The Severn platform is an example of how to create a reliable power supply for an edge IoT device from ambient light and/or heat in a compact form-factor, and showcases the TM2040’s ability to simultaneously and effectively manage the energy from multiple harvesters,” said Huw Davies, CEO of Trameto.
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