Stories


EnABLES Project
Thermoelectric characterisation (RefNo 145)
User
Sophie Billat
Affiliation
Hahn-Schickard, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
Description
Thermoelectric materials convert thermal flow into electrical flow. At HSG, we develop thermal flow sensors. To optimise their performance, we need to accurately know the electrical properties and Seebeck coefficients of the active thermoelectric materials. Thanks to EnABLES, we analysed the Seebeck coefficient and electrical properties of a variety of materials prepared at HSG, and used this knowledge to optimise our sensors.

Access provided: Access to Thermoelectric Material Characterisation at CEA-Liten.

Testimonial
“We want to thank the EnABLES Team for the very precise measurements, the high quality of work and the very interesting results. We want to note the respect of deadline and the very good communication. It was a pleasure to work with you.”


EnABLES Project
A compact flexure guide for EM vibration harvester (RefNo 122)
User
Chitta Saha
Affiliation
Coventry University, United Kingdom
Description
We are currently developing electromagnet (EM) based vibrational energy harvesters for powering IOTs. The harvester is cylindrical shape with a mass moving inside the cylinder. It is critical to ensure the harvester operates near or at its resonant frequency by designing a proper spring (i.e. flexure). Spring constant is geometry and material property dependent. This access project has demonstrated a novel design which can easily be integrated into a cylindrical shape for operating in the resonant frequency. The flexure is demonstrated employing design theory in compliant mechanisms, which is also validated by commercial FEA software and a 3D printed prototype.
Results
Ultra-low wide bandwidth vibrational energy harvesting using a statically balanced compliant mechanism (Open Access)

Access provided: Access to Electromagnetic/Vibration Energy harvesting at Tyndall.

Testimonial
“Tyndall provided great support to project partners throughout the course of the project. Dr. Guangbo Hao and his team has carried out excellent research in a short period of time and successfully delivered all deliverable objectives. The outcome of this project could generate far more academically important projects well into future. The EnABLES access interface team deserve special thanks for their assistance and providing access to EnABLES expertise and facilities.”


EnABLES Project
Characterization of thermoelectric thin-films (RefNo 121)
User
Viviana Sousa
Affiliation
International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Portugal
Description
The escalating demand for alternative clean energy sources requires the development of new and effective materials for energy recovery and conversion. Thermoelectric (TE) devices allow to convert the temperature differences into electric voltages and vice versa. Traditional bulk TE materials already proved to be capable of reasonable zT efficiency. Nevertheless, to reduce thermal conductivity and to improve zT, nanocrystals (NCs) appear as an interesting approach since their bandgap can be tunned according with NCs size. Also, NCs allow to use solution-processable techniques to deposit the TE layer instead of high energy demanding techniques.
Results
Screen printed TE thin films from NCs of PbSe and PbTe doped with Ag were fabricated and characterised. Measurements revealed high Seebeck coefficient and high electrical resistivity.

Access provided: Access to Thermoelectric Material Characterisation at CEA-Liten.

Testimonial
“Thanks to CEA Liten I was able to characterize the thermoelectric properties on screen printed thin films from nanocrystals. Their expertise on thin films characterization allowed to understand how to improve my PhD thesis outcomes. EnABLES was a great opportunity to enrich my TE knowledge and a great platform for collaboration.”


EnABLES Project
RF harvesting for switch sensor (RefNo 099)
User
Mateusz Jarosz
Affiliation
Norma Group UK Ltd., Newbury, UK
Description
Norma Group works on the development and installation of pipe systems in industrial and automotive applications, e.g. exhaust gas discharge. We aim to provide additional customer functionality (improved traceability and quick assembly check) by means of IoT based on self-powered sensors. RF power fits best to our approach. This feasibility study aimed to test that energy harvesting based on RF is able to power the sensors in the reference environment.

Access provided: Access to RF Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IMS.

Testimonial
“Interesting and exciting cooperation. We had opportunity to learn a lot and clarify the basic understanding of SHF technology.”


EnABLES Project
Large-area flexible TEG characterisation (RefNo 097)
User
Roberto Guarino
Affiliation
Koral Technologies Srl, Trento, Italy
Description
Koral Technologies is working on the development of a multi-source energy harvesting platform, which is also based on flexible electronics for powering wearable or textile-based connected devices. The platform is based on the use of large-area flexible thermoelectric generators, which are currently poorly present on the market and only few suppliers are available. EnABLES allowed us to experimentally characterise these components. The results are useful not only for the scientific community, but also for supporting the product development activities of Koral Technologies, as well as for increasing its competitive advantage in wearable technologies.

Access provided: Access to TEG Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IMS.

Testimonial
“As a young start-up company, Koral Technologies has strongly benefitted from the joint project with Fraunhofer IMS. The EnABLES offer has allowed our company not only to complement our internal R&D effort through dedicated technical support, but also to put solid basis for the future development process and for the launch of our innovation on the market.”


EnABLES Project
Battery Life Improvement for Tracking Devices (RefNo 087)
User
Eduard Seligman
Affiliation
Swiss Airtainer SA, Payern, Switzerland
Description
Swiss Airtainer manufactures temperature-controlled Unit Load Devices (ULD) containers for aircraft transport of pharmaceutical products. In many cases there is considerable value in having a ‘track and trace’ device retrofitted. The existing solution uses a BlueTooth (BT) tracking device powered by integrated batteries. With the current set-up, these have a battery life of 1-2 years. However a longer battery life is required for practical applications, particularly with a ULD service interval of 3 years. EnABLES allowed us to look at alternatives to extend the battery life, including: a) Improving/optimising the micro-power management solution; b) Reduced power alternatives to BT; c) Energy harvesting (e.g. using PV on side of container or other devices)

Access provided: Access to Micro-power Management at Tyndall.

Testimonial
“The EnABLES program is a great initiative for SMEs to help us to do early feasibility studies in a simple and zero cost way. The transnational access gave us fantastic insight into the potential to dramatically reduce the power consumption of our tracking devices from mW to µW thereby reducing the battery size as well as increasing the battery life. Furthermore, the opportunity to use energy harvesting becomes realizable when we get to these power levels. We definitely learnt a lot and plan to build from the study to do further collaborative research with Tyndall.”


EnABLES Project
PV-supply for IoT level sensor (RefNo 084)
User
Barry Finnegan
Affiliation
LVLogics, Dublin, Ireland
Description
LVLogics is a service provider for level monitoring in silos. An IoT sensor is used to capture data and send it by mobile communication to a cloud platform. The level in silos is measured using an optical sensor. The goods in question are solids, such as grain and pellets. Dust formation during filling causes a dust deposit on the optics of the sensor. LVLogics is interested in energy harvesting to power the IoT sensor system. This project addresses how to use photovoltaic energy harvesting for the supply of the IoT sensor and lens cleaning. For this, the feasibility of a PV energy supply for the entire sensor system will be evaluated and a demonstrator will be built to show the operation.

Access provided: Access to PV Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IMS.



EnABLES Project
RF harvesting for wireless temperature sensor (RefNo 066)
User
Marco Morandi
Affiliation
italcoppie, Malagnino, Italy
Description
Italcoppie Sensori s.r.l. is one of the largest temperature sensors manufacturers. The sensors are used in different applications like industrial data acquisition in production processes like metal machining and food processing. To open new application areas we wanted to explore contactless measurement using energy harvesting. The processes to be monitored often run at high temperatures, which makes it difficult to use battery-powered sensor modules for mobile installations. Therefore with the help of Fraunhofer-IMS we have developed a robust sensor module which runs with the workpieces and manufactured goods in the process. This EnABLES access allowed us to prove the concept and fabricate a demonstrator system.

Access provided: Access to RF Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IMS.

Testimonial
“We tested the prototype inside a small oven with a Tamb set between 20 to 25°C in order to verify the functionalities of the whole system. The wireless communication was OK as well as the raw values of 4 sensors. The results of this prototype confirm that the design achieved basically meets our requests. The next step will be to improve the wireless communication range, the accuracy of the sensors and the operating range.”


EnABLES Project Ref No
062
User
Giuseppina Pace
Affiliation
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
061
User
Medoune Ndiaye
Affiliation
University of Paris Est, France
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
055
User
Stephanos Theodossiades
Affiliation
Loughborough University, United Kingdom
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
050
User
Peter Oppermann
Affiliation
Hamburg University of Technology, Germany
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
049
User
Ryan Quellet
Affiliation
Vibration Research, United States
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
046
User
Sergio Guarino
Affiliation
Koral Technologies, Italy
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project
User-centric medtech-based design template (RefNo 042)
User
Tim Hannon
Affiliation
Sanmina, Huntsville, USA
Description
Sanmina is developing next generation wearable devices (e.g. smart patches) for medtech applications such as sepsis monitoring, sports and patient rehabilitation, assisted living, wound monitoring, etc. These devices monitor parameters such as temperature, blood pressure, sweat & other physiological parameters. We required radical new innovative approaches to integrating sustainable power sources (energy storage) into our devices. EnABLES provided access to the expertise to address this.
Results
Design recommendations report and template. This template gives primary consideration to the user and environmental impact of the energy storage device, including materials used, form factors, storage capability, dis-assembly and disposal considering the entire life cycle.

Access provided: Access to Energy Storage expertise at Tyndall.

Testimonial
“The expertise provided by EnABLES was very valuable to Sanmina. It was extremely beneficial to us to get an independent expert assessment of existing and emerging battery technologies for our real life medical device application. The scope extended beyond traditional battery selection parameters by also looking at parameters such as form factor, safety and end of life considerations including incineration and or recycling. The EU should provide more programmes like this to give guidance and foster collaborations. We would happily participate again in similar collaborations.”


EnABLES Project Ref No
036
User
Raden Sanggar Dewanto
Affiliation
Politeknik Elektronika Negeri, Surabaya, Indonesia
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.

EnABLES Project
Vibration powered tracking system (RefNo 033)
User
Marc Braun
Affiliation
TX Logistik Austria GmbH, Schwechat, Austria
Description
Nowadays, GPS trackers for railway applications are powered by batteries. Some companies offer first vibration harvesters to power such trackers during operation to get rid of batteries or to prolong operation times.
In a previous Enables TA project the general approach of using energy harvesting from vibrations for powering GPS trackers on railway trains was investigated. Vibrations on trains were recorded and analysed and commercial vibration harvesters were characterized in the lab.
In this project, a selected vibration harvester was integrated onto GPS trackers to cover parts of the power consumption and extend the operation time of the battery. The GPS tracker with the vibration harvester was characterized with vibrations from preceding field tests in the lab to record the output power and to investigate under which condition a self-powered operation of the GPS tracker was possible.

Access provided: Remote access to Vibration Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IIS.

Testimonial
“Very smooth process from first contact. Availability of Fraunhofer IIS was really good. Answers and technical input were punctual and very accurate. Very direct collaboration, the agenda of the project and the setup was clear to everyone. In addition, two-weekly conference calls helped to fulfill the aim of the project.”


Self-Powered Smart Window Patch
Proof-of-Concept Demo Board
EnABLES Project
Self-powered sensor system power characterisation (RefNo 030)
User
Brian Zahnstecher
Affiliation
PowerRox LLC, San Jose (CA), USA
Description
This proof-of-concept wireless sensor network system is being designed to support a family of smart patch devices that shall bring telemetry, intelligence, and potentially control to any number of different applications/environments.
The primary system components are: Scavenged Energy Source, Power Management IC, Secondary Energy Storage (thin film, solid-state microbattery), Communications SoC, Sensors, Primary Energy Storage and Antenna for wireless transceiving.
The EnABLES team at Tyndall carried out power system characterization, generating highly accurate datasets.

Access provided: Remote access to characterisation and evaluation of IoT powering systems at Tyndall.

Testimonial
“Thanks to the EnABLES team and the EU for supporting my project!!! This is an amazing transnational program that provide little companies like mine to access billions of dollars in assets that never would have been available/affordable for us. Hope it continues and grows for others as well as our desire to utilize in the future. Thanks again for putting your resources to great use!”


EnABLES Project Ref No
028
User
Ali Daraji
Affiliation
Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.


EnABLES Project Ref No
021
User
Pierre-Yves Pichon
Affiliation
RGS Development BV, Broek op Langedijk, The Netherlands
Description
Current SiGe materials used in our thermoelectric modules are made using the RGS proprietary crystal growth process, which allows materials of controlled composition to be produced at industrial scale. Although the stability of the Thermagy technology is demonstrated, the relatively high costs of Ge limits the range of application of the modules to specific applications.
The objective of this research is to improve the thermoelectric performance of the materials and to allow reducing the germanium concentration. Both effects will have a positive impact on the module costs and will allow widening the market for our Thermagy modules.

Access provided: Access to thermoelectric energy harvesting technology at CEA-Liten, including visit to facility.



EnABLES Project Ref No
017
User
Dan Haronian
Affiliation
EnerVibe Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel
Description
Enervibe is developing a unique Vibration Energy Harvester (VEH) which may change the electromechanical coefficient such that the VEH may tune to maximum energy extraction in real time. This property is equivalent to changing the piezoelectric properties of a piezoelectric based VEH which is clearly not possible. Such capability allows smaller VEH with higher power conversion per chip volume.
We plan to design an ASIC that will sample the VEH properties and will feedback a command for tuning the VEH to a maximum harvested energy.

Access provided: Remote access to micropower management design at imec-NL.



EnABLES Project Ref No
016
User
Mazen al Shanawani
Affiliation
University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Description
As the millimetric frequency range is gaining increasing interest to fulfill the need for ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT) appliances, it is important to have efficient harvesters even at extremely high frequencies. The tunnelling diodes pose as good candidates with fast switching times. However, even the recent trials in the literature demonstrate limited efficiency for the measured devices. In fact, the reasons for this shortcoming are manifold and vary from understanding of the physical model to inaccurate fabrication process at the nano scale.
In this project, the physical design of the diode will be guided by the desired figures of merit (FOM) such as asymmetry, nonlinearity, and dynamic resistance set by the design. Then, a heuristic search for the optimum solution will be implemented to minimize the output of a fitness function. The final goal is an integrated software/hardware design approach to fabricate power-efficient multi-insulator tunnelling diodes for future 5G/IoT RF energy harvesting applications.

Access provided: Access to energy harvesters microfabrication and characterisation at Tyndall, including visit to facility.



EnABLES Project Ref No
015
User
Abhishek Lahiri
Affiliation
Clausthal University of Technology, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
Description
Silicon is a potential anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). However, it undergoes a 400% volume expansion during lithiation/delithiation processes which damages the electrode integrity and leads to failure of the battery. To improve the electrode integrity, silicon based composites needs to be developed. In this project, we will electrochemically develop silicon composites from ionic liquids which will be directly used as anodes in LIBs without the addition of binders or other conducting materials. The influence of deposition temperature on the deposit morphology and crystallinity will also be evaluated.
To assess the battery performance and understand the chemical/electrochemical reactions as well as integrity of the electrode, various in situ and ex situ characterisation techniques will be used. Based on the obtained results and its optimisation, a full-cell will be constructed with silicon composite anode as a proof-of-concept.

Access provided: Access to electrochemical microbatteries technology and characterisation at Tyndall, including visit to facility.



EnABLES Project Ref No
014
User
P.J. Moloney
Affiliation
P4ML Ltd., Cork, Ireland
Description
Access provided: Virtual access to real vibration data for energy harvesting.



EnABLES Project
Energy harvesting for railway applications (RefNo 012)
User
Marc Braun
Affiliation
TX Logistik Austria GmbH, Schwechat, Austria
Description
The goal of the project was to investigate energy harvesting power supplies for GPS trackers on railway trains. A GPS tracker was used in a field test to evaluate the power consumption of given railway use-cases and to record and characterize the typical vibration spectrum in this environment. The power output from off-the-shelf vibration harvesters was characterized with the vibrations from the field tests. Further lab testing was analyzing the performance of the vibration harvesters and an appropriate energy management system to power the tracker in the specific use-case was customized.

Access provided: Remote access to Vibration Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IIS.

Testimonial
“Very smooth process from first contact. Availability of Fraunhofer IIS was really good. Answers and technical input were punctual and very accurate. Very direct collaboration, the agenda of the project and the setup was clear to everyone. In addition, two-weekly conference calls helped to fulfill the aim of the project.”


EnABLES Project
RF harvesting for oven sensor (RefNo 004)
User
Clemens Herlitzius
Affiliation
V-ZUG AG, Zug, Switzerland
Description
The study investigated whether RFID technology can be used to wirelessly monitor the temperature of heated food in a combined device consisting of an oven and a microwave. The wireless sensor transponder should be supplied with energy via an independently transmitted electromagnetic field (microwave signal, 2.45 GHz) and the sensor transmits data to a separate receiver station, called reader. The investigations were carried out on the basis of simulations. The simulations were carried out with the 3D simulation program “Microwave Studio” from the company “CST” on a 3D model.
The supply of the transponder and the data transmission procedures were simulated separately. To estimate the transmission factor, a theoretical preliminary consideration was carried out. A transponder antenna and two reader antennas were designed for the microwave. With these antennas the transmission factors were simulated and evaluated with different parameters.
Results
It became clear that the metal surrounding of the oven has a great influence on the matching of the antennas. The presence of water and materials that contain a high degree of water have a very high absorption and leads therefore to losses. This plays a big role for the transmission and the adjustment of the antennas. The varying positions and volumes bring different results, so that these cannot be estimated by simulation for all occurring cases of positions and volumes in the area of interest.
After theoretical preliminary considerations and a detailed parameter study derived from them, the transmission factor shows a worst-case value -64.5 dBm for the supply path and -61 dBm for the data transmission path. Nearly all simulation results meet these values. Individual scenarios at a critical position of the sensor show the transmission factor below -60 dBm. However, this value was chosen somewhat more conservatively. With a typical receiver a robust data transmission is possible with receive signals down to -90 dBm.

Access provided: Access to RF Energy Harvesting at Fraunhofer-IMS, including visit to facility.

Testimonial
“The sponsorship by EnABLES allowed us to push into a new technical field of energy harvesting and wireless communication. We gained internal knowledge and were enabled to estimate necessary modifications on our products to allow an implementation of the studied technology.”
“Fraunhofer IMS provided excellent knowledge on RF energy harvesting and wireless data communication.”


EnABLES Project Ref No
003
User
Vladimir Chugunov
Affiliation
Comberry LLC, Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation
Description
The development of high-capacity, high temperature resistant thin film batteries demonstrates very strong interest from different markets. Our company has developed new type of cathode materials with high storage capability of Li ions and new design of the energy storage device. In order to evaluate the full capabilities of our device we need to deposit anode layers composed of Li metal and Cu current collector as well as pack the device. We will work together with CEA-Leti on the synthesis and investigation of our energy storage device.

Access provided: Access to thin-film microbatteries at CEA-Leti, including visit to the facilities.