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A European project will develop the technology of autonomous sources of energy

A European project will develop the technology of autonomous sources of energy With 36 partners and almost 100 million euros of budget, the project EnSo, “Energy for Smart Objects”, is aimed at developing autonomous microenergy sources for small devices. The Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM) is the only Spanish research center involved in the project.

The Autonomous microenergy sources include harvesters which can collect mechanical energy from environment movements, such as vibrations or body movements. The goal of EnSO project is to develop and consolidate a unique European ecosystem in the field of autonomous micro energy sources supporting electronic European industry to develop innovative product. Several big companies which are interested in this technology are involved in the project, such as Gas Natural, Gemalto, BASF, Henkel, Idneo, Airbus or ST Microelecronics.

In the next years the number of applications based on small sensors and smart devices will increase, mostly in the health, communication or mobility fields. All those countless devices commonly refered as “Smart Objects” will need energy sources easy to be adapted, autonomous and non-polluting in contrast to the current batteries -which become waste once they have been used.

The Enso project proposes to explore alternatives that can be implemented in those cases. The scientists plan to develop basic “building blocks’ such as microbatteries, ambient energy harvesters, wireless power chargers and power managing circuits.

These are the basic blocks to build the Autonomous microenergy source (AMES), “a kind of autonomous generator that includes the storage element, the energy harvester and power conditioning circuit”, as Gonzalo Murillo explains. Murillo is coordinator of the project at the IMB-CNM.

The group led by Murillo will focus on developing devices to harvest mechanical energy from environment movements, such as vibrations. His team has already developed a similar device in the frame of the European project Sinergy, a smaller project than EnSo but with similar goals. Also, as a novelty, these devices will have the capability of continuously tuning their resonance frequency in order to match with the frequency of the ambient vibration from which it will harvest the energy.

The EnSo Project will last for four years, from January 2016 to January 2020.

http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/203401_en.html