e-peas looks to raise funds for ultra low power IoT microcontroller and sensors

March 27, 2019 // By Nick Flaherty
Geoffroy Gosset, CEO and co-founder of e-peas
Belgian energy harvesting specialist e-peas is about to set out on a new round of fundraising to develop a new ultra low power microcontroller and sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT).

“We believe the mass deployment of IoT devices will be through install and forget devices and the only way to reach that goal and bring intelligence to the edge device is combine energy harvesting with a dramatic reduction in power,” said Geoffroy Gosset, CEO and co-founder of e-peas. “So we have bult the power management side of the solution and other components that will offer dramatic reduction in power consumption – the next one is processing, then sensors. Beginning in 2020 we will have our first processing solution.”

The move follows the launch of a thermal generator that can start up a system from a temperature difference of just a couple of degrees.

“The reason we decided to design this chip was to complete the product portfolio,” said Gossett. “We noticed that that there is a lot of interest in cold start that generates a few tens of millivolts for different temperatures and people want to develop applications that use [the energy from] one or two degrees difference.”

The problem is that the efficiency of the converter falls as the voltage increases, so the new thermal energy generator (TEG) uses self oscillating circuits with an optimum efficiency at a certain voltage. “We developed a circuit with a specific architecture that actually helps people to gather all the energy rom the TEG from 5 to 10 degrees to 30 to 40 degrees – the range from 50mV to 5V is 100 fold so if you are able to cold start at 5 degrees you can harvest energy up to 500 degrees,” he said.

“We used the self-oscillating circuits to cold start a main boost converter to provide the range. The advantage is that even if the cold start is poor efficiency it’s only a transition mode because you then switch to the boost converter." 

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