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Optoelectronics & Communications

Thermo-harvesting wireless transceiver


The TE-Power Node, developed by Micropelt, is a thermo-powered, self-sufficient wireless sensor node evaluation unit. It uses any source of thermal energy to drive a wireless transceiver, storing power in a thin-film battery. The Node is a test bed for designers looking to build the next generation of sensor networks, in which the sensors power themselves by harvesting energy from the environment. The battery stores the power that trickles in from sources such as a warm industrial exhaust pipe and then releases the accumulated energy in a pulse powerful enough to operate the radio. A 10 °C difference in temperature produces enough electricity to transmit 13 bytes of information per second.

Thermopelt designed the TE-Power NODE to provide customers with an easy-to-handle plug and play wireless sensor system which lets users explore and understand thermal harvesting and its major influencing factors. Sensor data provided include hot and cold side temperatures of the thermogenerator (TEG) and output voltage of the power source.

Thermoharvesters are much limited in power output. Therefore Thermopelt used the latest ultra-low-power microcontrollers and radios.