Startup offers energy harvest management IC

July 29, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
Startup company E-peas Semiconductors (Liege, Belgium) has announced its first chip in energy management IC for use with photovoltaic and thermoelectric energy harvesting.

E-peas was founded in 2014 by Geoffroy Gosset and Julien De Vos with a vision to address Internet of Things applications on two fronts; by increasing harvested energy and by reducing the energy consumption of circuit blocks. Gosset serves as CEO and De Vos is the chief technology officer of the company.

The AEM1x940 is an energy management IC that extracts DC power from photovoltaic cells or thermoelectric generators to supply electronic systems in order to extend their battery life and ultimately get rid of the primary storage element.

It uses a low power boost converter that can operate with input voltages in the range of 100mV up to 2.5V. With a special "cold-start" circuit it can start operating with empty storage elements at an input voltage as low as 380mV and an input power as low as 3µW, according to the e-peas website.

The device includes two LDO regulators for 1.8V output at up to 10mA load and a variable LDO at 2.5V to 4V with up to 30mA load current. Overcharging and over-discharging protection are provided and the design is described as being RF transmission friendly.

E-peas also plans to sell a low power 32-bit microcontroller. The microcontroller, of undisclosed architecture, consumes about 20 percent of the power of other 32bit MCUs, E-peas claims. The architecture selected is "well-known" and the MCU will be available "soon."

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