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Proceedings Paper

Ultra-low-power conversion and management techniques for thermoelectric energy harvesting applications
Author(s): Jerry W. Fleming
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Paper Abstract

Thermoelectric energy harvesting has increasingly gained acceptance as a potential power source that can be used for numerous commercial and military applications. However, power electronic designers have struggled to incorporate energy harvesting methods into their designs due to the relatively small voltage levels available from many harvesting device technologies. In order to bridge this gap, an ultra-low input voltage power conversion method is needed to convert small amounts of scavenged energy into a usable form of electricity. Such a method would be an enabler for new and improved medical devices, sensor systems, and other portable electronic products. This paper addresses the technical challenges involved in ultra-low-voltage power conversion by providing a solution utilizing novel power conversion techniques and applied technologies. Our solution utilizes intelligent power management techniques to control unknown startup conditions. The load and supply management functionality is also controlled in a deterministic manner. The DC to DC converter input operating voltage is 20mV with a conversion efficiency of 90% or more. The output voltage is stored into a storage device such as an ultra-capacitor or lithium-ion battery for use during brown-out or unfavorable harvesting conditions. Applications requiring modular, low power, extended maintenance cycles, such as wireless instrumentation would significantly benefit from the novel power conversion and harvesting techniques outlined in this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7683, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications, 76830X (29 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.850316
Show Author Affiliations
Jerry W. Fleming, Luna Innovations Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7683:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications
Nibir K. Dhar; Priyalal S. Wijewarnasuriya; Achyut Kumar Dutta, Editor(s)

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