Low-Power Tech Enables Thermally-Based Energy Harvesting

Developer of ultra-low power semiconductor technology, e-peas has created a power management IC (PMIC) optimized for energy harvesting from thermal sources in wireless-sensor applications. Supplied in a 28-pin QFN package, the AEM20940 is a device based on proprietary technology that can extract available input current levels up to 110 mA.

 

Taking dc power from a connected thermal electric generator (TEG), it can supervise the storing of energy in a rechargeable element and simultaneously supply energy to the system via two different regulated voltages. This is done through its integrated low-noise, high-stability 1.2/1.8V and 2.5/3.3V LDO voltage regulators. The lower voltage can be employed for driving the system microcontroller, while the higher voltage is intended for the RF transceiver.

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According to e-peas, using the AEM20940, it will be possible to extend the system battery life or, in many cases, eliminate the primary power source from the system completely. A key characteristic of the device is its ultra-low power start-up characteristics. It can achieve a cold start (with no stored energy available) from a 100-mV input voltage and 80-µW input power with an external module. Sophisticated energy management functions enable fast supercapacitor charging and warn when stored energy reserves are running low. For more stats, peruse the AEM20940 datasheet.

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