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Energy harvester offers record efficiency

A partnership between OMRON and imec has resulted in a vibrational energy harvesting DC power supply with the world's highest efficiency.

Able to convert and store energy from vibrations in the µW range, the device incorporates OMRON's electret energy harvester with imec's power management technology.

The prototype measures just 5 x 6cm, although its developers say there is scope to shrink it down to just 2 x 2cm. It is expected to find use in a range of autonomous wireless sensor node applications in the industrial and consumer domains, particularly in inaccessible locations.

"The combination of OMRON's robust electrostatic vibration harvester and our efficient power management technology enables an extremely compact design that can be installed in even the most inaccessible places – whereas today's vibrational harvester power supplies are too large and too heavy," said René Elfrink, a senior researcher at imec.

The supply's output can be set to anything between 1.5 and 5V. The module contains an ON/OFF signal for efficient duty cycling with low power sensor systems.

OMRON is currently field testing the prototype with customers to gather further input before entering volume production.

Laura Hopperton

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