Over 400 people attended this year's Energy Harvesting and WSN conference in Berlin, Germany, organised by IDTechEx. Attendance represented a spectacular growth of 25% over last year's event.
Feedback from presenters, attendees and exhibitors has been very positive with Frank Schmidt, CTO and Co-Founder of EnOcean GmbH praising IDTechEx after the event: "The IDTechEx Energy Harvesting congress is really the highest quality international event of its kind in Europe, congratulations for your outstanding success! I was happy we could be part of it - and proud to receive the prestigious award! Thank you very much for your efforts."
Energy harvesting demonstrators at the event's exhibition
The keynote session was opened by IDTechEx's Senior Technology Analyst, Dr Harry Zervos, giving a breakdown of the market for energy harvesting and wireless sensor networks, and discussing the hottest applications as well as the harvesting technologies that are currently gaining traction and are experiencing the widest adoption. Applications in the build environment have seen the largest deployment, with impressive examples such as the Squaire building at Frankfurt Airport showcasing the versatility and scalability of the technology.
There's a lot of interest from the industrial sector too though, with more and more end users asking system integrators for solutions incorporating energy harvesting. A notable change was observed during the keynote session at the conference, when integrators such as ABB and General Electric discussing how they are not testing energy harvesters anymore; they are making them available as part of their product portfolios, after rigorous validation processes that took a lot of time, but have led to robust products being made available.
ABB in specific discussed their development of the WiTemp wireless temperature sensor and transmitter, powered by thermoelectric energy harvesting. During the company's presentation, Dr Kai Koenig described not only the difficulties of bringing a new technology to market and making it available to customers, but also the time-consuming process of convincing ABB itself of the merits of a new technology, convincing colleagues of the importance of showing support and backing as well as funding energy harvesting research and development.
ABB is making WiTemp commercially available to its customers in 2013
Dr Thomas Kafka discussed the main reasons why GE-Bently Nevada makes wireless sensors available to its customers. They include:
1. Solution development in partnership with global industrial customers to address specific condition monitoring needs
2. Monitoring machines located in inaccessible, remote, or hazardous locations
3. Easier and fast installations for plant wide monitoring
He went on to discuss the ISA100 open communication protocol, outlining its main advantages in supporting discrete measurements, vibration sensor waveforms, control, and other applications within the same network, providing both process data and device diagnostics.
Main ISA100 diagram
Finally, Ed Taylor with Sentec Ltd, a leading supplier of smart grid and energy technology and consultancy, also presented during the keynote sessions at the conference, highlighting some of the solutions that Sentec Ltd developed that incorporate energy harvesting, such as the Onzo clamp-on energy sensor. Using this sensor clamped onto a cable, the need for householders to replace batteries is removed when measuring current, by reducing power consumption in communications and adding power-harvesting from the cable.
The next Energy Harvesting conference will take place on November 20-21 in Santa Clara. Contact Corinne Jennings , for more information.