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Technology Guide to Energy Harvesting and Power Management

Published on April 23, 2009 at 3:47 AM

Research and Markets has announced the addition of our technology guide to energy harvesting and power management.

Energy harvesting, small-format batteries and power management ICs are technologies that will enable the commercial rollout of next-generation ultra-low-power electronic devices and systems. Such devices are being deployed for wireless as well as wired systems such as mesh networks, sensor and control systems, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), radio frequency identification (RFID) devices, and so on.

Energy harvesting, microgenerators and other emerging power management technologies can be the enabler of wireless sensor network adoption. In fact, battery maintenance and replacement is cited as the "biggest reason to use energy harvesting." The first markets for these new technologies have been applications that can not be used with batteries. This report will analyze the "next wave" of applications that are likely to adopt advanced power management for ultra-low power devices. It will also provide an overview of the various standards that could help or hinder the adoption of these technologies, along with the power architectures and cost benefits likely to drive commercial viability.

Ultra-low-power (ULP) wireless technologies are primarily employed in applications that are not traditionally considered "portable," such as commercial building automation, medical monitoring, transportation and avionics, automatic meter reading, RFID, construction, and military. Although not portable systems, the power needs closely mirror the needs of portable devices such as mobile phone handsets and MP3 players. As a result, emerging ULP applications are expected to provide substantial growth opportunities for power management technologies traditionally associated with portable devices.

ULP wireless applications and portable applications are both low power, although ULP powering is significantly lower. Both are often wireless, and both usually use batteries. They rely on standards that vary by region and application, and both have varying ranges, data rates, and power requirements, depending on standards and applications. The same needs are driving both markets, as well: energy efficiency, small form factors, reduced power requirements, and competition with "wired" systems.

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