Thermoelectric Powered Autonomous Wireless Sensor Module for Temperature Monitoring
Wireless sensor networks are frequently used to monitor temperature and other manufacturing parameters in recent years. However, the limited battery life posts a constraint for large sensor networks. In this work, thermoelectric energy harvester is designed to effectively convert the heat into electrical energy to power the wireless sensor node. Bismuth telluride thermoelectric modules are optimized for low temperature conditions. Charge pump and switching regulator based power management module is designed to efficiently step up the 500mV thermoelectric voltage to 3.0V level for wireless sensor nodes. This design employs electric double-layer capacitor based energy storage with considerations on practical wireless sensor node operation. The implemented energy harvester prototype is proposed for Tyndall wireless sensor system to monitor temperature and relative humidity in manufacturing process. The prototype was tested in various conditions to discover the issues in this practical design. The proposed prototype can expect a 15 years operative lifetime instead of the 3-6 months battery lifetime.
Helen Zhang and David Jin
W. S. Wang et al., "Thermoelectric Powered Autonomous Wireless Sensor Module for Temperature Monitoring", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 63-64, pp. 978-982, 2011