Case 13636

Circuit and Method to Startup from Very Low Voltages and Improve Energy Harvesting Efficiency in Thermoelectric Harvesters

Keywords:

Thermoelectric energy harvesters, ultra-low cold start voltage

Applications:

Thermoelectric energy harvesters, fuel cells

Problem:

    The electrical circuit in portable thermoelectric harvesters must operate efficiently at low voltages and should also be able to cold-start without the help of a battery

Technology:

This invention proposes a novel energy extraction circuit to harvest power from thermoelectric energy harvesters. It implements a mechanical assisted startup circuit that uses small vibrations to turn on the thermoelectric harvester with low voltages (<50mV) without the aid of a battery. The control strategy can automatically track changes in temperature differences for maximum power extraction and a storage circuitry buffers the intermittent energy output by the thermoelectric harvester. It uses a high efficiency DC-DC converter to provide a regulated user-defined voltage output.

Advantages:
  • Startup with low voltages using vibrations
  • Eliminates battery
  • Performs MPPT

Inventors:
  • Professor Anantha Chandrakasan (Microsystems Technology Laboratories, MIT)
  • Yogesh Ramadass (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

U.S. Patent Number 8,305,050, filed on November 6, 2012

Publications:

Y.K. Ramadass, A. P. Chandrakasan, ``A Batteryless Thermoelectric Energy-Harvesting Interface Circuit with 35mV Startup Voltage,'' IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Dec. 2010

Related Cases:

13310: Circuit and Method to Improve Energy Harvesting Efficiency in Piezoelectric Harvesters

Last revised:April 29, 2013

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