Ambient Energy Harvesting Can Power M2M Devices

Oyster Bay, New York - 08 Mar 2011

“Energy harvesting” is the capture of ambient energy, its conversion into a usable form, and its storage for immediate or future use. The types of ambient power that can be harvested include light, heat, motion, vibration, and RF. Examples of energy harvesting that have been around for decades include solar-powered calculators, wristwatches powered by body motion, and bicycle lights  powered by a generator/dynamo run by friction with the wheel.

Over the last decade, interest in energy harvesting has increased because of its environmental friendliness and its ability to power devices without electric wires, extending the life of batteries (or eliminating them entirely) and decreasing maintenance.

In its new study “Energy Harvesting for M2M Devices,” ABI Research has determined that the market for energy harvesting systems totaled just $3.82 million in 2009, and that it will reach $418 million by 2016. If energy harvesting development kits are included, the 2009 market exceeded $12.7 million, and will reach approach $480 million by 2016.

Larry Fisher, research director of NextGen (ABI Research’s emerging technologies research incubator) comments, “Because ambient power is scavenged in milliwatts (mW) or even microwatts (µW), energy harvesting is best used for small, wireless, autonomous devices that can function on an ultra-low-power basis. This makes it clearly applicable to Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), which are the next step in the evolution of automating buildings, utilities, factories, homes and transportation systems. Wireless sensors can be spread throughout a home or building, in factories or on bridges or other structures to monitor environmental or other conditions; if they’re powered by energy harvesting, there are no batteries to replace and no labor costs associated with replacing them.”

Fisher adds, “The market for energy harvesting is still in the very early stages of development, while R&D and prototyping of systems continue to prove their reliability and economic value compared to battery-powered systems.”

Energy Harvesting for M2M Devices covers the market  for energy harvesting solutions for M2M devices, and provides forecasts of energy harvesting unit shipments and revenue, segmented by major global region and by ambient energy source, along with shipment and revenue data related to the proliferation of energy harvesting development kits.

This study is part of ABI Research’s Energy and Clean Technology Research Service.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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