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Innovations in Energy Harvesting Technologies

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  • 1. Innovations in Energy Harvesting Technologies (Technical Insights) Ubiquitous Sensor Presence enabled by Energy Harvesting Nine Pronged Technology Evaluation D51F-TI December 2013
  • 2. Research Scope Energy harvesting is not a new concept. Most of the energy harvesting technologies harness solar, wind, water, and thermal energy to generate electricity in large scale. The energy captured from these ambient sources can also enable low-power consuming devices to recharge or even eliminate the use of batteries to power up the applications. Energy harvesting is stated to be a key enabling technology for wireless sensor networks (WSNs) and the Internet of things (IoT). This research service analyses the innovations in energy harvesting technology and also find the opportunities in diverse markets. The research service offers insights primarily on the nine dimensions listed below: • Year of impact • Market potential • Global footprint • IP activity • Funding • Breadth of industries • Impact on megatrend • Potential points of convergence • Size of innovation ecosystem D51F-TI 2
  • 3. Key Findings Year of Impact  Widescale adoption of energy harvesting technology would take some time as the battery market is quite established and it is difficult to change the end user mind-set.  There are various industries, where energy harvesting is making inroads; and for some of them the technology has already in use. For example, the building and home automation industry has adopted this technology. Global Footprint  North America and Europe are expected to be comparatively fast adopters and major markets for energy harvesting technologies.  APAC region would experience relatively slow adoption. D51F-TI IP Activity  IP activity has increased since 2010 and has been considerably high in the last 4 years.  Major focus is on photovoltaic technology as it promises to have the widest application coverage. Funding  Funding has been focussed on specific applications in the past few years.  The EU 7th Framework Programme has been funding a lot of research and commercialisation activities with both industry and academic participants. 3
  • 4. Key Findings (continued) Breadth of Industries Impact on Megatrend  The primary benefit of energy harvesting technologies is elimination of batteries. Thus, energy harvesting technologies are actual enablers of the wireless sensor network and this capability is allowing energy harvesting to find applications in building and home automation, industrial, automotive, healthcare, military & defense, consumer electronics and environmental industries. Potential Points of Convergence Size of Innovation Ecosystem  Convergence with ICT and wireless sensors holds maximum potential in the near- to mid-term. It will enable a host of IoT applications and building energy management solutions. • Market Potential D51F-TI  Energy harvesting is perceived to have a strong impact on several mega trends as identified by Frost & Sullivan. Key mega trends are connectivity and convergence, health, wellness and well-being, "smart" is the new green and future infrastructure development. •  A number of EH technologies are being researched by leading universities across the world and companies are also coming up with new products to tap the energy harvesting market. Regulatory & standardization bodies and alliances are accelerating the energy harvesting adoption process. Energy harvesting has high potential in various markets as it is a key enabling technology for low-power, maintenance-free electronic devices Key markets for energy harvesting include automotive, utility, industrial, military and aerospace, and building automation, and so on. 4
  • 5. Key Energy Harvesting Technologies–Photovoltaic Solar or Photovoltaic Energy: Solar power has been used for large scale applications for many years. Low-power applications can also benefit from solar power through the use of photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells are usually made of siliconbased material, and these systems are best for use in outdoor applications. Organic photovoltaic solar cells are also enabling flexible solar cells. Lack of Effectiveness Indoors CHALLENGES Effectiveness of photovoltaic EH diminishes indoors as well as during night. The conversion efficiency of a solar cell is not high with most devices achieving maximum efficiency of around 30%. Efficiency of Conversion Sensitivity to water and air for Organic PVs Flexible organic photovoltaics are prone to damage by air and moisture. Thus robust encapsulation is required for these devices. Impact across different industries Automotive and Transportation D51F-TI Industrial Building and Home Automation Military and Aerospace Environment Consumer Electronics Healthcare Utility 5
  • 6. Factors Influencing Adoption Challenges High Initial Cost Limitations in Power Density Need End-to-End EH solution Lack of Awareness Short Term (1-2 Years) Medium Term (3-5 years) Long Term (>6 years) Initial cost of energy harvesting solution is quite high; and most of the end users compare the high price of EH solutions with cheaper batteries. Though EH solutions offer higher ROI in the range of 5 to 8 years, it is often difficult for the end users to understand and calculate the ROI of EH solution. Thus, the high initial cost of energy harvesting technology is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of energy harvesting technology adoption. D51F-TI Currently, power density of micro energy harvesting is not very high. It can mostly power very low-power consuming devices. Moreover, energy harvesting is generally used to enhance battery life and not as the sole power supplier. This challenge is expected to have a lesser impact in the longer term as technological advancements take place to tackle this. There is no one-size-fits-all energy harvesting solution available in the market; and these solutions are tuned to the requirement of the actual end user application and energy sources available. Few companies such as EnOcean, Lord/Microstrain are offering a complete solution for a particular industry, but for other applications new products need to be continually developed. Collaboration between all the component players in the value chain will solve this challenge in long run. Existence of the well established battery market is hindering the growth of energy harvesting technology. It is a lack of vision from end customers who fail to see the hidden costs associated with battery technology in terms of attendant and battery replacement issues. Growing awareness among the end users, about the capability of energy harvesting technology would solve this challenge. 6
  • 7. Breadth of Industries General and Niche Applications Benefited Energy Harvesting–Versatile Applications The primary benefits of energy harvesting technologies is elimination of batteries. Energy harvesting technologies are actual enablers of the wireless sensor network where a number of sensor nodes need to be deployed that need to operate continuously. To power up the wireless sensors, EH technologies can allow harvesting of technologies from different sources and remove the need for bulky batteries or supplement battery power. It can in turn facilitate better design for many devices and easy implementation of various applications. Building and Home Automation Smart Metering Military and Aerospace Environment Agriculture Monitoring Healthcare CBRNe Industrial Mobile Devices M2M SHM HUMS Wireless Switches Automation and process control applications Automotive Consumer Electronics Implants Mobile Health Devices Utility TPMS 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 D51F-TI Energy Harvesting 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 7
  • 8. Internet of Things Energy Harvesting Wireless Sensors ICT • For IoT applications, wireless sensors need to operate and communicate continuously. • IoT applications demand deployment of millions of distributed devices, which introduces the challenge of powering up all these devices. Batteries are not a feasible option for powering up the devices over a long period of time. Smart Cities • Energy harvesting promises an alternative to batteries for powering up the distributed devices. Remote Health Monitoring M2M Environmental Monitoring D51F-TI • Convergence of energy harvesting, wireless sensors and ICT could be best leveraged by IoT to facilitate real-time applications such as smart cities, M2M (machine to machine) communication, environmental monitoring, and remote patient monitoring. 8