Sensors Expo 2005: EnOcean releases energy-harvesting wireless module

Chicago, IL—An innovator of energy-harvesting wireless technologies, EnOcean Inc., is introducing its tiny STM100 solar-powered wireless sensor module this week at Sensors Expo 2005, June 6-9, at McCormick Place’s Lakeside Center.

By Control Engineering Staff June 7, 2005

Chicago, IL— An innovator of energy-harvesting wireless technologies, EnOcean Inc. , is introducing its tiny STM100 solar-powered wireless sensor module this week at Sensors Expo 2005 , June 6-9, at McCormick Place’s Lakeside Center. STM100 reportedly overcomes the challenges to efficient wireless sensing—power-hungry radios and battery deficiencies, such as limited life, maintenance, and disposal—and achieves fundamental breakthroughs in the creation, storage and management of power.

Within its custom two-stage solar cell, one stage provides quick startup energy, while the other charges an onboard energy reservoir. Designed to operate indoors, the device requires only 200 lux to generate energy. Typical lighting values in a building include 200 lux in hallways, 500 lux on desktops, and up to 1200 lux in display cases.

STM100 consists of a solar cell energy source, energy reservoir, analog and digital sensor connections, a microprocessor for sensor control, and a radio transmitter. All of these components are packed into a 0.8 x 1.6 x 0.4-in. footprint (2 x 4 x 1 cm). Despite its small size, STM100 reportedly stores sufficient energy to operate continuously for up to five days in complete darkness.

Equally important, each module assures reliable wireless communication via sophisticated RF protocols, enabling multiple broadcasts, fast data rate, error detection and unique addressing. By combining solar power and robust RF, EnOcean reports that it has eliminated the need for batteries in sensor applications, and consequently done away with regular system maintenance. EnOcean adds its proprietary radio technology is approved for use in Europe (ETSI), United States (FCC) and Canada (IC).

‘EnOcean’s patented technology lets STM100 generate a surprisingly long-range radio signal with extremely minute amounts of harvested energy,’ says Armin Anders, EnOcean’s product marketing VP. ‘With just 50 microwatts, a standard EnOcean transmitter will comfortably send a signal 300 meters outdoors or 30 meters indoors through walls. The secret is in the signal duration; the entire process is initiated, undertaken and completed in approximately 1/1000 of a second.’

STM100’s platform supports a wide variety of sensors, such as temperature, gas, humidity, illumination, location and presence, which enable mobile, maintenance-free monitoring and control of buildings, factories, logistics, and automobiles. The product reportedly is

  • By offering three analog and four digital inputs and sophisticated measurement routines, EnOcean simplifies sensor integration. This means that OEMs can quickly create a completely self-powered, functioning, communicating device for remote installation, such as a thermostat.

  • EnOcean-enabled systems save planning and installation time and significantly reduce costs. This allows OEMs to pass these benefits on to their customers, while granting them full control to deploy and relocate devices where they best suit their application.

Christian Genter, CEO of Omnio AG, a manufacturer of building automation systems, adds that, ‘EnOcean-based systems allow us to deliver unmatched sensor networking flexibility via battery-free, maintenance-free wireless switches, temperature sensors, and window contacts. The system provides unmatched simplicity through an ingenious ‘learn-in’ programming feature that doesn’t require time-consuming PC programming or personnel training.’

To simplify OEMs’ wireless network development, EnOcean also provides receivers and transceiver/repeaters compatible with its switch and sensor modules.

Located in Oberhaching, Germany, near Munich, EnOcean GmbH was founded in 2001 as a spin-off from Siemens AG. Investors include 3i, BayTech Venture Capital, SAM Private Equity, Siemens Venture Capital, and Wellington Partners.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor