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Energy Harvesting From Hybrid Indoor Ambient Light and Thermal Energy Sources for Enhanced Performance of Wireless Sensor Nodes

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2 Author(s)
Tan, Y.K. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Nat. Univ. of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore ; Panda, S.K.

In this paper, a hybrid of indoor ambient light and thermal energy harvesting scheme that uses only one power management circuit to condition the combined output power harvested from both energy sources is proposed to extend the lifetime of the wireless sensor node. By avoiding the use of individual power management circuits for multiple energy sources, the number of components used in the hybrid energy harvesting (HEH) system is reduced and the system form factor, cost and power losses are thus reduced. An efficient microcontroller-based ultra low power management circuit with fixed voltage reference based maximum power point tracking is implemented with closed-loop voltage feedback control to ensure near maximum power transfer from the two energy sources to its connected electronic load over a wide range of operating conditions. From the experimental test results obtained, an average electrical power of 621 μW is harvested by the optimized HEH system at an average indoor solar irradiance of 1010 lux and a thermal gradient of 10 K, which is almost triple of that can be obtained with conventional single-source thermal energy harvesting method.

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Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 9 )