Nextreme Introduces Thermobility Wireless Power
Thermobility uses innovative solid-state thin-film thermoelectric technology to convert heat into electricity for a variety of self-contained, autonomous systems.
Thermobility uses differences in temperature to enable wireless power anywhere there is an adequate heat source and eliminates the need to use traditional wired power sources or replaceable batteries. When paired with wireless transmitters, the Thermobility solution can provide electric power for decades of maintenance-free operation, thus expanding the possibilities for new wireless sensor applications in industrial control, transportation, automotive and building management.
As the first in a series of wireless power generators, the Thermobility WPG-1 provides a constant voltage output of 3.3, 4.1 or 5.0 Vdc to electrical loads of 15k? or higher. The WPG-1 is about the size of a golf ball and consists of a pin-fin heat sink, a custom circuit board, Nextreme's eTEG HV56 thermoelectric power generator module and a metal attachment plate that is applied to the desired heat source.
According to the company, the device incorporates a Linear Technologies LTC3108 Ultralow Voltage Step-Up Converter and Power Manager chip to provide up to 1mW of electrical power at temperature differentials as low as 15-20K relative to ambient. Larger temperature differences can generate significantly more power.
The WPG-1 is designed for ease of use with any flat-surface heat source. For simple bench-top testing, the WPG-1 can be placed directly on a laboratory grade hotplate with temperature control. For evaluation with other surfaces, the attachment plate can be mated with either thermal grease for normal horizontal application or double-stick thermal pad for vertical mounting.
The integrated circuit board includes DIP switches for setting the output voltage. Electrical connections can be made using the on-board 2-pin or 6-pin connectors. The 6-pin connector is a Texas Instruments proprietary connector that mates to the eZ430 wireless target board, making the WPG-1 an ideal wireless power source for the eZ430 development platform.
In the future, Nextreme plans to extend the Thermobility platform with additional features, including integrated energy storage for applications with variable heat sources. The design is flexible and can be customized for a variety of wireless power applications.
The Thermobility WPG-1 generator is available for evaluation with a six- to eight-week delivery lead time for $495.
Dave Koester, vice president of engineering at Nextreme, said: â€œAdvances in distributed sensors and sensor networks have led to an increased interest in the use of renewable power sources to replace or augment existing power systems. The use of heat is an attractive source of energy for many low-power sensor applications.â€
Will the launch commercially benefit the firm?
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