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In this paper, we propose power management algorithms for maximizing the utility of energy harvesting sensors (EHS) that operate purely on the basis of energy harvested from the environment. In particular, we consider communication (i.e., transmission and reception) power management issues for EHS under an energy neutrality constraint. We also consider the fixed power loss effects of the circuitry, the battery inefficiency and its storage capacity, in the design of the algorithms. We propose a two-stage structure that exploits the inherent difference in the timescales at which the energy harvesting and channel fading processes evolve, without loss of optimality of the resulting solution. The outer stage schedules the power that can be used by an inner stage algorithm, so as to maximize the long term average utility and at the same time maintain energy neutrality. The inner stage optimizes the communication parameters to achieve maximum utility in the short-term, subject to the power constraint imposed by the outer stage. We optimize the algorithms for different transmission schemes such as the truncated channel inversion and retransmission strategies. The performance of the algorithms is illustrated via simulations using solar irradiance data, and for the case of Rayleigh fading channels. The results demonstrate the significant performance benefits that can be obtained using the proposed power management algorithms compared to the energy efficient (optimum when there is no storage) and the uniform power consumption (optimum when the battery has infinite capacity and is perfectly efficient) approaches.
Date of Publication: April 2012