Radio-Frequency Energy Harvesting and Wireless Power Transfer System

Technology Overview

The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) allows more sensors to be used for monitoring, detection and security purposes. However, this also introduces new problems to the user:

  • Short sensor's lifespan (due to reliance on battery as the main power source) affecting the service operation, 
  • Cost and hassle associated with frequent maintenance and battery disposal, especially when sensors are scattered across multiple locations and can run out of battery at different points in time, and
  • Time wasted on planning, coordinating, and installing of power cord layout to accommodate increasing numbers of sensors (for sensors using power cord as the main power source).

Hence, conventional powering methods are not sustainable to support thousands of sensors. Therefore, we have developed wireless power transfer technology to solve the problems. Our system can be integrated into the sensors and provides an alternative power source to the sensors, effectively extending the sensor's lifetime and resulting in less frequent replacement/maintenance. This can help to remove the costs associated with battery replacement, battery disposal, and cabling installation. 

Technology Features & Specifications

A complete power and data transfer system consisting of the following:

  • Power harvesters to harvest the Radio-frequency signal and convert to direct current (DC). This unit is used to provide power to the sensor
  • Power transmitters to emit the power signal for remote charging
  • A gateway that receives the data from the sensors and uploads to the cloud for remote access and monitoring

Key features:

  • Long-range wireless power charging to extend the sensor’s lifetime operation
  • Sensor information is securely transferred to the gateway and uploaded to the cloud via multiple protocols such as Wi-Fi, ModBus, LTE-M/NB-IoT
  • Patented technology to enable robust, efficient, and long-range wireless power and data transfer system
  • Supporting a wide range of sensors, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, light, and gas

In short, our system not only retains the key benefits that IoT brings (more data for analysis and insight) but also enables scaling by removing the power reliance.

Potential Applications

Applications requiring extensive uses of sensors can benefit from the technology, such as:

  • Environmental monitoring (temperature, humidity, gas…)
  • Facility management (office, building, museum, …),
  • Smart metering (water meter, gas meter),
  • Asset management (in warehouse or on-route, where conditions of items are to be monitored closely).

Market Trends and Opportunities

A few statistics shown below point towards the increasing trend of sensor usage, which supports the adoption of wireless power transfer:

  • The number of IoT sensor is forecasted to increase to 125 billion devices by 2030 (DBS Asian Insight, 2018)
  • Smart metering, where sensors help with automatic measurement of water and gas usage, rises to a US $1 billion markets by 2024 with over 50 million units in China and South East Asia. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41% (Frost & Sullivan, Frost & Sullivan, “Global Smart Water Meter Market, forecast to 2026”)

The market of facility management where sensors are adopted for monitoring and control will reach to US $ 8 billion markets by 2021, with revenue growth of 14.1% CAGR (Frost & Sullivan, “Analysis of the Global sensors in infrastructure monitoring and smart building market”)

Customer Benefits

Key benefits for customer include:

  • Cost saving on battery replacement and maintenance – the use of wireless power transfer technology has the potential to realize long sensor’s lifetime and battery-less operation
  • Avoid service disruption – without the hassle of battery replacement, the data collection process is not interrupted, and no critical data is lost

Easily scalable solutions – by simply placing new devices within the charging zone

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