Energy Harvesting

Green Power: Simplifying power, streamlining design, saving the planet

The Zigbee Alliance has issued a white paper titled, "Green Power: Simplifying power, streamlining design, saving the planet." This white paper was written by Cam Williams, Strategy Committee Chair, Zigbee Alliance and Lead Architect of IoT Connectivity, Schneider Electric.

Almost all wireless products require wires for power - or they must rely on batteries to function. Both options are costly and limit the usefulness of these devices today. When we think of wireless technology, we often don't consider the amount of labor, energy, battery waste and other costs associated with small and large deployments.

First, think of a smart home environment. If there are 60 wireless/IoT products in your home, and each device's battery lasts five years, that averages to one battery change a month. If you aren't home and can't change the battery, the device will fail. This makes your home automation system (and your life) more complicated.

On the commercial side, these pain points and costs can be significant depending on the type of deployment and scope of coverage. Commercial office space floor layouts change on average every five years, and having to rewire each time can be a huge cost and resource drain. Some venues - such as hotel room settings - might include 10+ potential sensors. Each component will require a battery change at some point.

Batteries constitute one of the most toxic waste streams on Earth. Ethical disposal and recycling of batteries are costly. Why purchase, transport, install and dispose of a battery when the energy already exists where it is needed?

The complete technology is actually a number of technologies combined into one global standard:

  • Energy harvesting capabilities;
  • Ultra-low power RF silicon that uses many orders of magnitude less power than required for a sleepy or fully networked wireless connection;
  • An open global standard network technology that saves even more energy by reducing packet length, round-trips, connection rediscovery, and on-network time for devices that may be offline for extended periods of time;
  • An open global standard application layer protocol that supports compressed messages and limited transactions.

Click here to read the full white paper in your browser.

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