15th Jan 09
Drop by drop collection
of very low voltage with energy harvesting technology
Advanced Linear Devices Inc has developed a new energy
harvesting technology designed specifically for ultra-low
voltage applications such as photovoltaic cells, thermoelectric
generators and electromagnetic sources with an output as
low as 0.1V.
By enabling the capture, accumulation and storage of ultra-low
voltage from devices and processes that produce trace levels
of electricity, ALD will enable a new generation of practical
power sources for implantable medical devices, remote sensor
arrays, photo sensor arrays, wireless systems, RFID tags
and numerous other embedded applications. The endeavor will
make it possible for low-level energy sources to power intermittent
duty cycle applications in consumer, computer, medical,
industrial, and military electronic products.
"We have shipped thousands of ALD's EPAD Energy Harvesting
Modules and by engaging with customers, it was evident that
there was a strong need for technology that could harness
the energy from sources generating less than 0.4 volt,"
said Bob Chao, President and CEO of ALD, Inc. "Using
ALD's zero-threshold EPAD MOSFET arrays, we have gone back
to the drawing board to solve a problem that cannot be addressed
with conventional circuitry. With this development effort,
we want to enable the type of low-voltage energy capture
that was not possible before to enable a new wave of development
in the field of energy harvesting."
ALD has developed EPAD Energy Harvesting Modules with the
ability to capture, accumulate, store and supply power from
a variety of environmental or wasted energy sources and
supply it to embedded applications. The existing generations
of modules need an input of 4 volts to begin operating.
For ultra-low voltage sources, ALD will produce modules
that can operate starting at 0.4V. The company will also
target sources that generate 0.1V.
As an example, a single photovoltaic cell generates about
0.4V under light. Normally, a developer would have to string
together a number of cells to supply useful voltage to an
electronic system. The modules will be designed to capture
ultra-low voltage from low-power thermoelectric generators
that convert heat to electrical energy using an array of
thermocouples. Thermocouples are made from two dissimilar
metals and are joined so that a potential temperature difference
between the points generates electrical energy as a function
of the temperature difference.