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Solar PMIC for indoor energy harvesting kit

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Swedish Indoor solar cell developer Epishine has used an energy harvesting power management chip (PMIC) from e-peas in Belgium for its development system.

The evaluation kit uses the e-peas AEM10941 PMIC which integrates a boost regulator with two low drop out (LDO) regulators to provide sufficient current to the 400mF GA230 supercapacitor from CAP-XX. The PMIC also helps to regulate the output.

The low cold-start threshold means the system can quickly be activated again even when the supercapacitor has been fully discharged, using a photocell input voltage of 380mV and 3µW.

The kit measures has 81mm x 71.5mm x 3.8mm and demonstrates how Epishine’s advanced Light Energy Harvesting (LEH) modules can be used in low-light indoor environments (even below 50lux), so that there is no longer a need for the inclusion of batteries.

It supports output voltages ranging from 1.8V to 3.3V, adjustable to voltage increments of 100mV. By discharging its CAP-XX supercapacitor, this development solution can deliver a 80mA output current, which may be used to power a radio transceiver (such as BLE, Zigbee or LoRa). It’s also possible to connect a back-up battery if required.

“We’ve been collaborating with e-peas for the last 8 months and have been impressed with the capabilities of the AEM10941 chip to support minimal currents and quick cold-start. This has meant we can extract energy from the surrounding environment, even in the lowest of light conditions,” said Mattias Josephson, co-founder and VP of Business Development at Epishine. “Furthermore, the rich feature set makes it ideal in our evaluation kit, helping to show the many ways to implement light energy harvesting in IoT products”

“The combination of Epishine’s next generation photocell technology, CAP-XX’s supercapacitor and e-peas power management expertise has resulted in a solution that can address extremely low levels of illumination, such as those found in indoor settings,” said Geoffroy Gosset, CEO at e-peas. “Via this development platform, engineers can initiate prototyping for a wide array of products reliant on energy harvesting which would otherwise have been impossible using conventional hardware.”

“The very efficient e-peas power management IC is crucial to the Epishine evaluation module for its ability to harvest very low amounts of indoor light to charge CAP-XX’s 99 per cent charge efficient ultra-thin supercapacitor, thereby often eliminating the need for a battery,” said Anthony Kongats, CEO at CAP-XX. “Our three companies share the mission to enable battery-free IoT and monitoring devices that will operate for many years without battery replacement, and to dramatically improve product reliability and reduce ownership costs.”

Epishine, CAP-XX and e-peas will present a webinar ‘Eliminate Batteries with Indoor Light Energy Harvesting and Supercaps’ on 3rd March at 5pm CET (4pm UK, 11am ET, 8am PT). To register go to: https://e-peas.com/news/eliminate-batteries-with-indoor-light/

www.e-peas.com; www.epishine.com

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