Yole Développement in France has released a report dedicated to MEMS energy harvesting devices. Special attention has been given to the market drivers for adopting MEMS energy harvesting devices in different market segments, factoring the progress of competing technologies and cost constraints. It appears that the numerous opportunities for energy harvesting devices must be analyzed carefully, taking into account all aspects of the final application from power consumption profiles to lifetime and size constraints. Applications screened cover automotive, medical, industrial machine monitoring and process control, home automation and defence.
Within an environmentally conscious world, MEMS energy harvesting devices promise in principle a cleaner and almost perpetual solution to powering small systems avoiding the use and waste of polluting batteries. Ever optimistic market projections are predicting billions of dollars in revenue for ubiquitous sensor networks in the next five to ten years and derive from these numbers large energy harvesting sales and volumes.
And indeed, MEMS energy harvesting devices have been a hot topic in MEMS R&D for some years with spectacular developments driven by DARPA programs within the Hi‐MEMS cyborg insects. "The reality is that beyond the technological buzz, commercial applications are slowly starting to get to market for industrial applications and home automation appliances. This is driving the first volumes for energy harvesting applications, but not necessarily at the micro scale", explained Ridha Hamza, Project Manager at Yole Développement. Hot market segments in 2007 and 2008 such as tire pressure monitoring systems where batteries are currently the dominant solution have driven enormous efforts but the market dynamics have not made it possible to accept a premium price for alternative solutions. There are needs for better power density but also for less power consuming electronics and wireless communications.
Market acceptance of MEMS energy harvesting devices is a function of several parameters that are studied in the report. These parameters include, but are not limited to: size, cost, amount of power generated versus amount of power needed by the system and projected lifetime for the energy harvesting device compared to the system parts lifetime. A major factor to be taken into account is whether there is enough power harvested for a particular application from a particular environment, and whether the scavenged power needs to be stored. As piezoelectric MEMS energy harvesting devices can currently power sensor nodes requiring 60 uW according to the latest developments, a companion energy storage device would be necessary for most applications. Commercial success will come from a full understanding of all aspects of the system to be powered and of the data receiver nodes. Challenges include ultra low power electronics and wireless data transmissions rates and standards.
About Yole Développement
Yole Développement is a market research and business development consulting company, facilitating market access for innovative devices, equipment and materials in the MEMS, Advanced Packaging, Compound Semiconductor, Nano and Life science fields.
Source: Yole Développement
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