Joint solution enables non-stop, zero-maintenance operation of IoT devices through energy harvesting, eliminating need for batteries.
Sequans Communications S.A., a leading maker of 5G/4G chips and modules for massive, broadband and critical IoT, and e-peas, supplier of advanced energy harvesting and processing semiconductor solutions, announced the demonstration of a joint solution combining e-peas’ AEM energy harvesting IC (integrated circuit) with Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT platform to provide a self-powered cellular IoT connectivity solution, in a very small footprint, that can operate indefinitely without batteries.
Didier Dutronc, EVP and head of Sequans’ massive IoT business unit, said:
“Energy harvesting technology is ushering in a new era where IoT devices will no longer have to run on batteries.”
“This will have a profound impact on the IoT market and will greatly increase the number and types of applications that can be connected to the IoT, extending it to those applications where direct power connection or manual intervention to change batteries is not possible. In addition to the significant cost and practical advantages of this, this technology also allows for a more sustainable IoT world through elimination of the production and recycling of billions of batteries every year. Energy harvesting offers one of the most exciting visions of the IoT future, and through our partnership with e-peas, a leader in advanced energy harvesting solutions, we aim to bring this vision to reality.”
The Sequans/e-peas demonstration shows the e-peas AEM10941 IC transferring energy from a photovoltaic harvester to a storage element and then to Sequans’ Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT module where it powers a sensor device measuring power, light, and humidity. The demo kit is supplied with a small indoor DSC photovoltaic cell that can power many types of IoT applications using indoor light and LTE connectivity. In an outdoor environment, the size of the photovoltaic cell can be reduced to allow for energy-autonomous devices in an even smaller form factor. In a typical application, such as in farming or industry, device sensors collect data (humidity, temperature, air quality) while the lighting environment is loading the capacitor. With the combination of the e-peas AEM10941 IC and Sequans’ Monarch module, the collected data can be sent up to 8 times a day, with no need of batteries using a 15 cm2 indoor PV cell under 500 Lux, making the devices completely energy self-sufficient and CO2 neutral.
“We are excited to collaborate with Sequans on this solution combining energy harvesting with IoT connectivity,” said Christian Ferrier, chief marketing officer, e-peas. “Not only do we show the viability of energy harvesting technology, but we show how IoT companies can build maintenance-free devices that can operate autonomously, which has a huge positive impact on sustainability, total cost of ownership, and device longevity.”
Sequans and e-peas are offering a reference design with schematics for IoT companies, enabling them to design and build their own connected IoT devices using energy harvesting technology.