Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Publications

4 Analysis of Thermoelectric Coolers as Energy Harvesters for Low Power Embedded Applications

Authors: Yannick Verbelen, Sam De Winne, Niek Blondeel, Ann Peeters, An Braeken, Abdellah Touhafi

Abstract:

The growing popularity of solid state thermoelectric devices in cooling applications has sparked an increasing diversity of thermoelectric coolers (TECs) on the market, commonly known as “Peltier modules”. They can also be used as generators, converting a temperature difference into electric power, and opportunities are plentiful to make use of these devices as thermoelectric generators (TEGs) to supply energy to low power, autonomous embedded electronic applications. Their adoption as energy harvesters in this new domain of usage is obstructed by the complex thermoelectric models commonly associated with TEGs. Low cost TECs for the consumer market lack the required parameters to use the models because they are not intended for this mode of operation, thereby urging an alternative method to obtain electric power estimations in specific operating conditions. The design of the test setup implemented in this paper is specifically targeted at benchmarking commercial, off-the-shelf TECs for use as energy harvesters in domestic environments: applications with limited temperature differences and space available. The usefulness is demonstrated by testing and comparing single and multi stage TECs with different sizes. The effect of a boost converter stage on the thermoelectric end-to-end efficiency is also discussed.

Keywords: Thermoelectric cooler, TEC, complementary balanced energy harvesting, step-up converter, DC/DC converter, embedded systems, energy harvesting, thermal harvesting.

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3 Parametrization of Piezoelectric Vibration Energy Harvesters for Low Power Embedded Systems

Authors: Yannick Verbelen, Tim Dekegel, Ann Peeters, Klara Stinders, Niek Blondeel, Sam De Winne, An Braeken, Abdellah Touhafi

Abstract:

Matching an embedded electronic application with a cantilever vibration energy harvester remains a difficult endeavour due to the large number of factors influencing the output power. In the presented work, complementary balanced energy harvester parametrization is used as a methodology for simplification of harvester integration in electronic applications. This is achieved by a dual approach consisting of an adaptation of the general parametrization methodology in conjunction with a straight forward harvester benchmarking strategy. For this purpose, the design and implementation of a suitable user friendly cantilever energy harvester benchmarking platform is discussed. Its effectiveness is demonstrated by applying the methodology to a commercially available Mide V21BL vibration energy harvester, with excitation amplitude and frequency as variables.

Keywords: Energy harvesting, vibrations, piezoelectric transducers, embedded systems, harvester parametrization.

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2 Software Architecture and Support for Patient Tracking Systems in Critical Scenarios

Authors: Gianluca Cornetta, Abdellah Touhafi, David J. Santos, Jose Manuel Vazquez

Abstract:

In this work a new platform for mobile-health systems is presented. System target application is providing decision support to rescue corps or military medical personnel in combat areas. Software architecture relies on a distributed client-server system that manages a wireless ad-hoc networks hierarchy in which several different types of client operate. Each client is characterized for different hardware and software requirements. Lower hierarchy levels rely in a network of completely custom devices that store clinical information and patient status and are designed to form an ad-hoc network operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and complying with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard (ZigBee). Medical personnel may interact with such devices, that are called MICs (Medical Information Carriers), by means of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) or a MDA (Medical Digital Assistant), and transmit the information stored in their local databases as well as issue a service request to the upper hierarchy levels by using IEEE 802.11 a/b/g standard (WiFi). The server acts as a repository that stores both medical evacuation forms and associated events (e.g., a teleconsulting request). All the actors participating in the diagnostic or evacuation process may access asynchronously to such repository and update its content or generate new events. The designed system pretends to optimise and improve information spreading and flow among all the system components with the aim of improving both diagnostic quality and evacuation process.

Keywords: IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee), IEEE 802.11 a/b/g (WiFi), distributed client-server systems, embedded databases, issue trackers, ad-hoc networks.

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1 A Direct Down-conversion Receiver for Low-power Wireless Sensor Networks

Authors: Gianluca Cornetta, Abdellah Touhafi, David J. Santos, Jose Manuel Vazquez

Abstract:

A direct downconversion receiver implemented in 0.13 μm 1P8M process is presented. The circuit is formed by a single-end LNA, an active balun for conversion into balanced mode, a quadrature double-balanced passive switch mixer and a quadrature voltage-controlled oscillator. The receiver operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and complies with IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) specifications. The circuit exhibits a very low noise figure of only 2.27 dB and dissipates only 14.6 mW with a 1.2 V supply voltage and is hence suitable for low-power applications.

Keywords: LNA, Active Balun, Passive Mixer, VCO, IEEE 802.15.4(ZigBee).

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