STMicroelectronics has launched a energy-harvesting IC to power electronic circuits and recharge batteries using either a solar cell or Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG).
SPV1050 harvests ambient light or thermal energy to power small electronic devices such as wireless sensors, smart-building and industrial equipment controls, wellness and wearable monitors and any such mobile and outdoor devices featuring support for Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
ST claims SPV1050 offers more functions than competing devices, which aids miniaturization and saves bill-of-materials costs. Both 1.8V and 3.3V regulators are available to power a companion microcontroller or wireless transmitter directly without requiring additional components. Maximum Power-Point Tracking (MPPT) continuously optimizes energy harvesting, or can be disabled. The battery-charging circuitry supports a wide variety of battery types including lithium-ion and lithium-polymer, lithium thin-film solid state, NiMH and NiCd, as well as supercapacitors.
“Energy harvesting delivers environmental benefits and helps reduce equipment ownership costs, and is used increasingly as energy-conversion efficiency rises and typical system power demands fall,” said Matteo Lo Presti, Group Vice President and General Manager, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics. “The tremendous operational and energy-harvesting efficiency of the SPV1050, combined with its unparalleled flexibility and feature integration, enables engineers to realize many new opportunities in industrial and consumer markets.”
Inside the SPV1050, a buck-boost converter allows the device to connect to either TEG or indoor/outdoor solar-energy harvesting modules by providing a wide input-voltage range from 180mV to 8V. Average operating efficiency of 90% allows fast battery charging even at low input power levels, while minimum MPPT accuracy of 90% maximizes energy extraction from solar or TEG sources. In addition, the integrated battery charging controller uses highly accurate under-voltage and end-of-charge thresholds, and provides safe control logic to prevent excessive discharging for longer battery life.
The SPV1050 is sampling now and scheduled for production in Q1 2014. It is available in a 20-lead QFN 3x3x1mm package or in 20-bump WLCSP tested and unsawn wafers. Budgetary pricing is $1.15 for orders of up to 1,000 pieces.