Sensors Expo & Conference 2019: Supercaps, Energy Harvesters Of The Future

Energy harvesting, the culling of electrical power from sources other than batteries, power supplies, and/or wall outlets, is quickly becoming necessary to power up the trillions of sensors and other devices that are being deployed on the incessantly expanding internet of things (IoT). There are several established ways of harvesting power, one of the most common being solar cells. However, in most cases, like solar cell applications, the harvested energy needs to be stored for later use.

Taking solar cells as an example, solar panels collect energy during daylight hours and a portion of that energy can be used to power whatever devices are connected to them. When the sun sets, they can collect very little power at best from whatever ambient light exists. Therefore, some of the energy collected during the day needs to be stored for use during hours of darkness. Enter the supercapacitor.

Supercapacitors are just capacitors that have an enormous large capacity for storing energy, enormous when compared to standard components. These can range in value from one Farad (1F) and upwards. Not long ago, a 500 µF capacitor was considered huge. Now, it’s an anorexic dilemma when compared to a 20For greater component.

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Getting back to those trillions of sensors and other devices going commando on the IoT, how are you going to power them all remotely? Obviously, batteries are an old standby, but pairing a device with an energy harvesting design and a supercap may be just the ticket for ensuring device power for a long time. This will save time and money by reducing, and in some cases eliminating the effort and cost of replacing batteries in the field. The next question is how do you do it? The answer is simpler than you think.

On Tuesday, June 25 starting at 9 AM PST, Randy Frank of Randy Frank & Associates will chair the “Pre-Conference Symposium 2: Designing for Energy Harvesting & Energy Efficiency – Tutorials” at Sensors Expo & Conference 2019 in San Jose, CA. Sessions in this track will provide attendees with a wealth of information, tutorials, insights, and applications for developing a strategy for employing energy harvesting in their new and existing designs.

On the topic of supercapacitors, a wise idea would be to attend the session titled, “Solving Energy Harvesting & Low Power Sensing Problems with Supercaps” from 11 am to 12 noon on that Tuesday. The session will be expertly delivered by Pierre Mars, VP of Applications Engineering at CAP-XX.

Pierre Mars has over 40 years of hardware and embedded software design experience. He has been with CAP-XX for 18 years where he is responsible for development of new supercapacitors and supercapacitor applications.

Prior to joining CAP-XX he held senior technical positions with Racal Defence Electronics, Chubb Electronic Security, CAE Pty Ltd and Honeywell Industrial Control. He has had over 20 articles published on supercapacitor applications. Pierre has a B.E. Electrical (1st class hons), M. Eng. Sc. from the University of NSW, Australia, and an MBA from INSEAD, France. He is a member of the IEEE.

Mr. Mars is a Sensors Expo regular. He says, “I have good attendance at the pre-conference tutorial I give on using supercapacitors in energy harvesting applications. Most of those who attend the tutorial also visit the CAP-XX booth. We get good lead generation from both the tutorial and the booth.”

Asked to reveal a bit about what he’ll be presenting, “The tutorial is titled: Supercapacitors enable micro power energy harvesters to power wireless sensors. It will cover what you should know about supercapacitors; characterizing your energy harvester and load – how to size the supercapacitor; how to charge the supercapacitor; and how to select a PMIC or to simply directly charge the supercap from the energy harvester. Some case studies including powering LoRa, Wi-Fi, Cellular IoT, BLE using solar cells, RF or vibration energy transducers.”

As I said earlier, solutions are simple here. Pierre says the one most important concept he wants his attendees to go home with is, “How simple it is to use supercapacitors in energy harvesting applications and how supercapacitors bridge the power gap between what the load requires for data collection and transmission and what the energy harvester can deliver.”Additionally, CAP-XX will be on the show floor exhibiting the latest in supercap technology in booth 942. You’ll also find Mr. Mars attending other sessions at Sensors Expo to stay on top of emerging sensor and energy technologies. Also, he will be keeping his eyes open for “potential leads and opportunities for using supercapacitors.”

Now this leaves one question and two very simple solutions. Are you ready to expand your knowledge of energy harvesting and how to use supercapacitors to solve your power issues? Of course you are, so take two easy steps forward: first register for Sensors Expo, and second, attend the Pre-Conference Symposium 2: Designing for Energy Harvesting & Energy Efficiency - Tutorials track and the session titled “Solving Energy Harvesting & Low Power Sensing Problems with Supercaps” presented by Pierre Mars, CAP-XX. ~MD

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