Energy harvesting PMIC handles two independent sources

Energy harvesting PMIC handles two independent sources

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

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e-peas in Belgium has developed a power management IC (PMIC) that can handle two independent energy harvesting sources simultaneously.

The AEM13920 PMIC can maximize the energy harvesting from any combination of two sources, including photovoltaic (PV) cells, a thermo-electric generator (TEG), RF energy harvester, or pulsed (kinetic) energy sources.

Two independent on-chip boost converters manage source voltage conversion and the supply to the storage element. A separate on-chip buck regulator converts the output from the storage element to a fixed voltage required by the application between 0.6 V and 2.5 V. The AEM13920 also manages a 5 V power input, which can be used to charge the storage element.

e-peas has also added system optimization and protection with source-to-storage and storage-to-load conversion efficiencies of higher than 90% as well as independent maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms for each source, and an ultra-low cold-start input condition of 275 mV/5 µW, maximize the amount of energy drawn from any type of harvester. The AEM13920 also offers the option of constant source-voltage regulation.

The flexible dual-source capability opens up design options for the use of energy harvesting in small electronics devices such as remote controls, PC peripherals, wireless sensors and more. For instance, a remote control could have separate PV cells on its front and rear, to maintain an energy input whether the device is left face up or face down.

A smart wireless light switch could operate on mechanical energy for short RF transmissions, and on stored mechanical or light energy for longer operations such as downloading and installing a firmware update.

New control and configuration features introduced in the AEM13920 include average Power Monitoring through a circuit that measures total energy transferred from each of the two sources to storage, and total energy supplied to the load. This enables the host microcontroller to calculate the state of charge of the storage element, and to monitor system operation in detail. An I2C interface provides control of 33 register settings by the host MCU, and for system data read-outs.

The AEM13920 also offers a full suite of system monitoring and protection features, including thermal monitoring of the storage element, selectable over-charge and over-discharge limits for protection of the storage element and shipping mode to protect the storage element. The PMIC is compatible with many types of rechargeable batteries and storage elements, including lithium-polymer, LiFP and li-ceramic batteries, and hybrid lithium capacitors

“e-peas has been pioneering the technology of energy harvesting for years, and the AEM13920 is the latest product of our innovation – a fully integrated PMIC that enables designers to use the combination of two energy sources that is exactly right for their application,” said Christian Ferrier, Chief Marketing Officer of e-peas.

“Because our technology is so efficient and effective, the AEM13920 should encourage more OEMs to stop relying on wasteful primary batteries, and so reduce the amount of electrical waste that goes to landfill.”

The AEM13920 is supplied in a 40-pin QFN package with a board footprint of 5mm x 5mm. It is available for sampling now.

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