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Proceedings Paper

Self-powering wireless sensors for temperature sensing and monitoring in power generation applications (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Ran Wei; Andrew Boggs; Susan Maley; Philip Feng

Paper Abstract

Applications of low-cost wireless sensing are increasing in the power industry. With the addition of energy harvesting capability, the sensors become easy to deploy, install and retrofit to existing equipment. This paper will summarize progress on low-cost, easy-to-deploy, self-powering wireless sensor nodes integrated with existing solutions into wireless sensor networks, to monitor the temperature of selected equipment in an industrial power plant (motor, pump, etc.). Temperature data is important for monitoring the operating conditions of the equipment. Each sensor node includes: (a) energy-harvesting device and transducer, which converts the vibrational motion of the equipment into electricity, made by a piezoelectric material; (b) a power management circuit with cold start function for AC to DC, DC to DC, and voltage regulation; (c) temperature sensor; (d) an ultra-low power wireless communication unit using ZigBee protocol. The quiescent current consumption of the circuit is calibrated to be less than 15 µA, and the sensor and RF transmitter have an average current consumption of less than 10 µA. Multiple sensors in a network communicate with a powered hub unit intermittently while continuously harvesting and storing energy, maintaining always-on operation without external energy input. A robust packaging method is developed for easy installation and facile retrofitting in the relevant industry environment. The temperature information of an equipment is monitored for about 2 months. We demonstrate that the self-powering wireless sensor node can be implemented in a generic industrial power plant equipment with minimal cost and effort for maintenance while providing real-time temperature sensing and long-term, continuous monitoring.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2019
Proc. SPIE 10970, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2019, 109700V (29 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2515225
Show Author Affiliations
Ran Wei, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Andrew Boggs, FirstEnergy Corp. (United States)
Susan Maley, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (United States)
Philip Feng, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10970:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2019
Jerome P. Lynch; Haiying Huang; Hoon Sohn; Kon-Well Wang, Editor(s)

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