EPSRC Energy Harvesting Network

TSB funding to address power challenges in electronic systems and the IoT

Date added: Monday 12th May 2014

The UK's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is launching an important new collaborative R&D competition focussed on energy harvesting technologies. The innovation agency hopes funding of GBP2.5M will go some way towards solving the problem of powering wireless electronic devices and, in particular, the millions of sensor nodes coming into operation with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Energy harvesting is a way to power wireless electronic devices by scavenging low grade, ambient energy sources such as environmental vibrations, human power, thermal and solar energy, and their conversion into useable electrical energy.

Analysts believe that there is an excellent investment climate for IoT technologies, defined as everyday objects having network connectivity, which allows them to send and receive data. However the consensus is that the IoT will become a large business later than most people think because a great many impediments remain. One of the most important of these is the lack of suitable energy harvesting for nodes deployed in huge numbers without access to conventional power sources. Examples include biometric health sensors, embedded systems, wireless agriculture sensors and many more.

Until relatively recently commercially available energy harvesting technologies remained elusive and developments are still largely driven by niche requirements but the industry is now waking up to the fact that not only are energy harvesting devices key to the IoT, they are also potentially attractive as replacements for primary batteries in all manner of applications, providing renewed power for rechargeable batteries for instance. The technology has reached a tipping point, because the necessary lower power electronics and more efficient energy gathering and storage are now sufficiently affordable, reliable and longer lived for a huge number of applications to be practicable.

In early June, the TSB launches a major competition with the aim of funding innovative projects using low-power energy harvesting technologies for autonomous electronics. Up to GBP2.5M is earmarked for investment for successful applicants.This initiative will help companies explore the opportunities created by energy harvesting to extend the life of batteries in low-power devices or to eliminate the need for batteries altogether. Analysts IDTechEx find that the total market for energy harvesting devices, including everything from wristwatches to wireless sensors will rise to over $2.6bn in 2024.

You can find out more about the new TSB competition - Energy harvesting to address power challenges in electronic systems - by registering for the free briefing events in Cardiff on 5 June 2014 and Glasgow 18 June 2014. Watch this space for details of more events nearer the time.

Further Information: https://connect.innovateuk.org/en/web/eh1/article-view/-/blogs/technology-strategy-board-targets-%C2%A32-5m-to-address-power-challenges-in-electronic-systems-and-the-i-1

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