Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Energy harvesting demo at CES powers sub-1GHz and 2.4GHz communications

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2015

Batteryless devices for powering sub-1GHz and 2.4GHz radio communications were being demonstrated by energy harvesting company EnOcean at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The technology collects free energy from the surrounding environment, for example from linear motion, pressure, light or differences in temperature. Small energy harvesters convert this into electrical energy to power switches and sensors without wires and batteries.

The maintenance-free devices let users seamlessly interact with their homes without worrying about service effort or battery disposal. With the act of pressing a switch, the user activates an electromechanical energy converter using the principle of kinetic motion. Other devices such as temperature, humidity and light sensors integrate solar cells, harvesting indoor light as a power source. Both energy harvesting technologies generate enough energy for wireless signals and measurements.

EnOcean’s self-powered wireless sensor modules are already used in the building automation and smart home sectors based on a large ecosystem of products. Operating in the sub-1GHz ISM frequency band (ISO/IEC 14543-3-10), the devices provide robust transmission through walls, low interferences and long-range communications up to three metres in buildings. The self-powered devices are perfectly suited to build a smart home network controlling lighting, HVAC, security or energy consumption while providing flexibility and maintenance-free operation.

Besides the sub-1GHz products, visitors to CES also saw energy harvesting wireless technology powering radio communications in the worldwide opened 2.4GHz band (IEEE 802.15.4) to meet market demands such as for consumer LED lighting control. The 2.4GHz kinetic switch is suitable for domestic LED lighting systems. It is the missing link between the LED bulb and the user, whenever the use of a smart phone app is not possible or is inconvenient. It brings flexibility and accessibility to the home, never runs out of power and avoids battery waste.

“Energy harvesting wireless technology is a unique clean-tech, which frees switches and sensors from wires and batteries,” said Wald Siskens, CEO of EnOcean. “It is the only environmentally friendly technology that can realise billions of connected objects, enabling a sustainable internet of things. We are proud to present our self-powered technology at CES for the first time. Self-powered switches and sensors ideally emphasise the lifestyle of today’s consumers, providing innovation and comfort based on a green principle.”