bullet MEMS Energy Harvesting Devices, Technologies and Markets



MEMS Energy Harvesting Devices

This report focuses on MEMS energy harvesting devices from both technology and market points of view. Special attention has been given to the market drivers for adopting MEMS energy harvesting devices in different market segments, factoring the progress of competing technologies and cost constraints.

Publication date: March 2009

Price: EUR 3,690

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MEMS Energy Harvesting Devices Report





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This report focuses on MEMS energy harvesting devices from both technology and market points of view. Special attention has been given to the market drivers for adopting MEMS energy harvesting devices in different market segments, factoring the progress of competing technologies and cost constraints.


It appears that the numerous opportunities for energy harvesting devices must be analyzed carefully, taking into account all aspects of the final application from power consumption profiles to lifetime and size constraints. Applications screened cover automotive, medical, industrial machine monitoring and process control, home automation and defense. The main developments in MEMS energy harvesting. devices are described and compared to fuel cells and micro-batteries. the report also describes the challenges facing the current players and the current market trends and business models.



Main Challenges


Within an environmentally conscious world, MEMS Energy harvesting devices promise in principle a cleaner and almost perpetual solution to powering small systems avoiding the use and waste of polluting batteries.


Ever optimistic market projections are predicting billions of dollars in revenue for ubiquitous sensor networks in the next five to ten years and derive from these numbers large energy harvesting sales and volumes.


And indeed, MEMS energy harvesting devices have been a hot topic in MEMS R&D for some years with spectacular developments driven by DARPA programs within the Hi-MEMS cyborg insects.


The reality is that beyond the technological buzz, commercial applications are slowly starting to get to market for industrial applications and home automation appliances. This is driving the first volumes for energy harvesting applications, but not necessarily at the micro scale. hot market segments in 2007 and 2008 such as tire pressure monitoring systems where batteries are currently the dominant solution have driven enormous efforts but the market dynamics have not made it possible to accept a premium price for alternative solutions.


We have focused our efforts in this report into a fine analysis of the market drivers for using MEMS energy harvesting devices, in comparison to micro batteries, micro fuel cells, or even solar cells. Different application fields from medical to home automation, industrial process control, machine monitoring or automotive have been analyzed in this report.


The challenges facing this technology were examined in a broad view, from a technology but also from a whole product point of view. There are needs for better power density but also for less power consuming electronics and wireless communications!


Enery harvesting technologies


Market Metrics


Market acceptance of MEMS energy harvesting devices is a function of several parameters that are studied in the report. These parameters include, but are not limited to: size, cost, amount of power generated versus amount of power needed by the system and projected lifetime for the energy harvesting device compared to the system parts lifetime.


A major factor to be taken into account is whether there is enough power harvested for a particular application from a particular environment, and whether the scavenged power needs to be stored. As piezoelectric MEMS energy harvesting devices can currently power sensor nodes requiring 60 uW according to the latest developments, a companion energy storage device would be necessary for most applications.


Commercial success will come from a full understanding of all aspects of the system to be powered and of the data receiver nodes. Challenges include ultra low power electronics and wireless data transmissions rates and standards.



Report Highlight

  • 21 applications evaluated

  • Global overview across 7 fields : automotive, industrial, building & home automation, environment monitoring, military & aerospace, medical, consumer electronics

  • 14 company profiles

  • 180 + slides

  • Analysis of piezoelectric, capacitive, electromagnetic vibration energy harvesting and thin film thermal energy harvesting

  • Review of the lastest developments in energy storage devices (microbatteries…), wireless communication technologies and wireless sensor networks


Company Profiles


Main players and status


Adaptivenergy, EnOcean, Holst Centre, Lumedyne Technologies, MEMS@Mit, Micropelt, Microstrain, Morgan Electro Ceramics, Piezo TAG, PMG Perpetuum, Thermo Life, TPL Micropower, Transense Technology, Visityre.



Table of Content

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction, definitions & methodology
  • Introduction to micropower & energy harvesting technologies 
– principles of energy harvesting
– Principles of wireless sensor networks
– Focus on wireless communication technologies
Technology review – energy harvesting technologies
– focus on vibration harvesting
– focus on thermal harvesting
– Other types of energy harvesting
Technology review – energy storage technologies
– energy harvesting – integration & operating mode
– focus on microbatteries
– current micro fuel cell technology 
Applications of energy harvesting devices

– Drivers for energy harvesting devices
– Automotive applications
      – Field overview
      – TPMS application
      – Cost considerations
      – Power solutions for TPMS
      – TPMS market
      – Main players in the TPMS field
– Industrial applications
      – Field overview
      – condition monitoring application
      – Rotating machine and smart metering applications
      – Power solutions for condition monitoring
      – Main players in the condition monitoring field
– Building and home automation applications
      – Field overview
      – Building automation - Wireless switches application
      – Power solutions for wireless switches
      – Building automation - Wireless sensors application
      – Power solutions for wireless switches & sensors
      – Main players for wireless switches and sensors

– Environment monitoring applications
      – Field overview
      – Exemple of player: Crossbow Technology
      – Military and aerospace applications
      – Field overview
      – Health and usage monitoring system application
      – Power solutions for HUMS
      – Main players in the HUMS field
– Medical applications
      – Field overview
      – Pacemaker application
      – Power solution for pacemakers
      – Wrist blood pressure measurement application
      – Fingertip pulse oximeters application
      – Home monitoring application
      – Power solutions for home monitoring
      – Cochlear implants application
      – Power solutions for cochlear implants
      – Monitoring of orthopaedic surgery application
      – Smart pills application
– Consumer electronics applications
      – Field overview
      – Power solutions for battery chargers
      – Focus on fuel cells
      – Chip thermal management application


Market opportunities for MEMS in energy harvesting

– Potential for MEMS in the automotive field
– Potential for MEMS in the industrial
– Potential for MEMS in the building & home automation field
– Potential for MEMS in the environment monitoring field
– Potential for MEMS in the military & aerospace field
– Potential for MEMS in the medical field
– Potential for MEMS in the consumer electronics field




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