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When Epishine developed their evaluation kit, they tried to bring the best components on the market for a complete energy-harvesting solution. Important components are the CAP-XX ultra-thin supercap and e-peas’ energy harvesting PMIC (power management integrated circuit).
Epishine’s new evaluation kit demonstrates how Epishine’s advanced Light Energy Harvesting (LEH) modules can be employed to power electronic hardware in low-light indoor environments (even below 50lux), to substantially increase the battery life or eliminate the need for batteries. In addition to the Epishine module with its 6 LEH photocells, each evaluation kit features an e-peas AEM10941 PMIC, which provides intelligent charging functionality. Integrating a boost regulator plus two LDOs, the AEM10941 delivers a current to the 400mF GA230 supercapacitor provided by CAP-XX. The PMIC also helps to regulate the output. Thanks to its ultra-low cold-start threshold, the system can quickly be activated again even when the supercapacitor has been fully discharged. All that is needed is a photocell input voltage of 380mV and just 3µW.
Epishine, CAP-XX and e-peas will present a webinar ‘Eliminate Batteries with Indoor Light Energy Harvesting and Supercaps’ on 3rd March at 5pm CET (4pm UK, 11am ET, 8am PT). To register go to: epishine.com
The compact Epishine evaluation kit (which has 81mm x 71.5mm x 3.8mm dimensions) will support output voltages ranging from 1.8V to 3.3V, adjustable to voltage increments of as little as 100mV. By discharging its CAP-XX supercapacitor, this development solution can deliver a 80mA output current, which may be used to power a radio transceiver (such as BLE, Zigbee or LoRa). It’s also possible to connect a back-up battery if required.
Epishine’s organic light cell is optimized for ambient light indoors. All electronic devices that today are powered by small batteries that last for a year or more can potentially be powered by harvesting ordinary indoor light with this innovation. The technology allows for high indoor performance and opens up new applications that would not have previously been commercially viable. Among the numerous opportunities that these evaluation kits will allow customers to explore are IoT and building automation. There is also clear potential in wearables devices and electronic shelf labels for retailers.
“We’ve been collaborating with e-peas for the last 8 months and have been impressed with the capabilities of the AEM10941 chip to support minimal currents and quick cold-start. This has meant we can extract energy from the surrounding environment, even in the lowest of light conditions,” states Mattias Josephson, co-founder and VP of Business Development at Epishine. “Furthermore, the rich feature set makes it ideal in our evaluation kit, helping to show the many ways to implement light energy harvesting in IoT products.”
“The combination of Epishine’s next generation photocell technology with our power management expertise has resulted in a solution that can address extremely low levels of illumination, such as those found in indoor settings,” adds Geoffroy Gosset, CEO at e-peas. “Via this development platform, engineers can initiate prototyping for a wide array of products reliant on energy harvesting which would otherwise have been impossible using conventional hardware.”
“We chose the CAP-XX supercapacitor for our evaluation module for its amazing charge efficiency and thin profile to enable devices with small form factors,” continued Mattias Josephson, Epishine.
“The very efficient e-peas power management IC is crucial to the Epishine evaluation module for its ability to harvest very low amounts of indoor light to charge CAP-XX’s 99% charge efficient ultra-thin supercapacitor, thereby often eliminating the need for a battery,” stated Anthony Kongats, CEO at CAP-XX. “Our three companies share the mission to enable battery-free IoT and monitoring devices that will operate for many years without battery replacement, and to dramatically improve product reliability and reduce ownership costs.”
Epishine's business is based on pioneering manufacturing breakthroughs within printed organic solar technology. The company has developed disruptive process steps that provide a unique scalability in terms of manufacturing plus industry-leading low light efficiency. Its roll-to-roll printed organic photocells are optimized for low light conditions and are easily integrated into wireless products. These photocells can be used instead of batteries, which would need to be replaced periodically. The company was founded back in 2016, and has just over 20 employees. Its headquarters in Linköping, Sweden.
e-peas develops and markets disruptive ultra-low power semiconductor technology. This enables industrial and IoT wireless product designers to substantially extend battery lifespans and eliminate the heavy call-out costs of replacing batteries, without in any way compromising on reliability. Relying on 15 years of research and patented intellectual property, the company’s products increase the amount of harvested energy and drastically reduce the energy consumption of all power consuming blocks within wireless sensor nodes. Headquartered in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, with additional offices in Switzerland and the USA, e-peas offers a portfolio of energy harvesting power management interface ICs, microcontrollers and sensor solutions.
CAP-XX (LSE:CPX) is a world leader in the design and manufacture of small, very thin supercapacitors. The company’s ultra-thin prismatic supercapacitors are ideal for space-constrained electronics applications where small energy storage device size and thickness are important. The unique feature of CAP-XX supercapacitors is their very high-power density and high-energy storage capacity in space-efficient thin prismatic and compact cylindrical packages.
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Epishine's business is based on pioneering manufacturing breakthroughs within printed organic solar cells. They have developed disruptive process steps that, among other things, provide a unique scalability in terms of manufacturing and a unique efficiency in low light.
Epishine's first product was released February 2021 and is optimized for low energy lighting indoors. It’s a small, thin and flexible light cell, printed on recyclable plastic and easily integrated into wireless products where it converts the ambient light into electricity. The light cells can be used instead of batteries on wireless sensors and similar devices in our increasingly connected world.
Epishine's long-term goal is to be in the forefront of printed organic solar cells and step by step enable the world's most scalable, resource-efficient and affordable solar cell. The company was founded in 2016 and has just over 20 employees with headquarters in Linköping and is mainly owned by a founding team together with renowned institutional investors and family offices. The next issue will be made in the spring of 2021.