Government reporting sanctions requiring the industrial market segment to provide real-time process information are a key driver in implementing sensor networks. Sensor’s can be either a wired network or wireless network solution.
However, wireless sensor networks that operate without an electrical grid are an increasingly popular, cost-effective solution, especially in remote or hazardous areas.
Powerstrap Technology is an Alternative Energy for Wireless Sensor Networks
The greatest challenge for maintaining and operating wireless sensor networks (WSNs), deployed for industrial and remote monitoring purposes. maintaining a constant energy source. Currently, few energy alternatives allow WSNs to continually transmit information.
Batteries remain the preferred source of energy powering WSNs, but have a finite lifetime, and only allow the sensor to intermittently transmit critical data.
To ensure performance, batteries must be replaced on a regular schedule. The potential maintenance cost of replacing batteries for several hundreds or thousands of WSNs is cost prohibitive. Additionally, sending maintenance workers to a remote or hazardous location accrues additional risk to any operation.
Energy harvesters are an alternative or adjacent source of energy to battery power. Harvesters convert usable, wasted process energy to extend the lifetime of a sensor and increase the frequency data transmission.
Energy harvesters can be applied to wireless sensors, micro-controllers, power management devices, and transceivers in any industrial manufacturing environment. A WSN that utilizes an energy harvester contains the following components:
The Energy Harvester (converts energy)
Power management module (collects electrical-energy from the harvester and either stores or delivers it)
Energy storage (stores converted energy for future use)
Radio transceiver (transmits and receives information)
A/D converter (digitizes the analog signal generated by the sensor)
Memory (stores sensed information)
Harvesters can extract multiple sources of energy from the surrounding environment including solar power, wind, mechanical vibrations, temperature, or magnetic field and convert that energy into electricity. The resulting electricity is delivered to the sensor for immediate use or storage. Harvested energy can also be used to recharge a battery or as a super capacitor.II-VI Marlow recently debuted an energy harvesting system comprised of a thermoelectric generator (TEG), heat sink (directs heat through TEG), and DC-DC converter (converts voltage to a usable energy). II-VI Marlow’s EverGen Energy Harvesters minimize or eliminate the use of battery power and continuously produce and provide wireless sensors with energy.
Additionally, II-VI Marlow’s harvesters are more cost effective and easier to maintain than batteries, as they require no replacement costs and minimal maintenance after installation. Harvesters can be used in both an internal or external environment and reduce any industries environmental impact.
II-VI Marlow’s EverGen® Energy Harveseters are an effective, alternative energy solution that is a viable, economical, and perpetual power source for any industry employing wireless network sensors. For more information download our free EverGen Power Strap whitepaper.