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Energy-harvesting IC enables Internet of Things ecosystem

Posted: 12 Dec 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics? Internet of Things? energy-harvesting IC? solar cell?

STMicroelectronics has rolled out its latest energy-harvesting IC that feature all the functions needed to power electronic circuits and recharge batteries using either a solar cell or Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG). According to the company, the SPV1050 is geared for applications with power requirements from a few microwatts to several milliwatts, and is equally suitable for both indoor and outdoor consumer and industrial applications using either solar or thermal energy.

Harvesting ambient light or thermal energy to power small electronic devices such as wireless sensors, smart-building and industrial equipment controls, wellness and wearable monitors, protects the environment by reducing CO2 emissions, while eliminating batteries and power cabling, so finally enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. In the future, hundreds of millions of these devices operating from tiny quantities of harvested ambient energy are expected to be deployed in environments such as office buildings, houses, hotels, industrial sites, transportation infrastructure and electric vehicles.


The ultra low-power energy-harvesting IC also provides more functions than competing devices, which aids miniaturization and saves BOM costs. Both 1.8V and 3.3V regulators are available to power a companion MCU or wireless transmitter directly without requiring additional components. Maximum Power-Point Tracking (MPPT) continuously optimizes energy harvesting, or can be disabled. The battery-charging circuitry supports a wide variety of battery types including lithium-ion and lithium-polymer, lithium thin-film solid state, NiMH and NiCd, as well as supercapacitors, noted the firm.

Inside the SPV1050, a buck-boost converter allows the device to connect to either TEG or indoor/outdoor solar-energy harvesting modules by providing a wide input-voltage range from 180mV to 8V. Average operating efficiency of 90 percent allows fast battery charging even at low input power levels, while minimum MPPT accuracy of 90 percent maximizes energy extraction from solar or TEG sources. In addition, the integrated battery charging controller uses highly accurate under-voltage and end-of-charge thresholds, and provides safe control logic to prevent excessive discharging for longer battery life.

The SPV1050 is sampling now and scheduled for production in 1Q14. It is available in a 20-lead QFN 3 x 3 x 1mm package or in 20-bump WLCSP tested and unsawn wafers. Budgetary pricing is $1.15 for orders of up to 1,000 pieces.

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