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    IDTechEx: Short-term challenges in energy harvesting market

    IDTechEx: Short-term challenges in energy harvesting market

    What could become the energy harvesting supply chain is still too fragmented to get off the ground, according to Cambridge market research IDTechEx.

    There are established successes, like solar powered calculators, said IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das: "However, given the opportunity for the technology, no supplier is anywhere near their full potential".

    He sees many developers of energy harvesting components that are concentrating on just the harvesting component while wishing to selling it into a broad range of applications.

    "However, almost all energy harvesters need to be carefully chosen and tuned for a specific application. That involves adjusting the energy harvester itself or the conditioning and storage electronics," said Das. "There are companies that now supply low power electronics, but again they are typically horizontal players, wishing to just design and sell the best electronic ICs but not do much more."

    There is plenty of need for wireless sensors powered from harvested energy, but few vertically-active companies with the desire and expertise to pull harvester and the electronics together, then turn them into a product that will seamlessly work in a network that can be installed with a screwdriver and without technological expertise.

    "Integrators of wireless sensors seek to buy a solution and not create it," said Das, pointing out that the many different and overlapping 'standards' for such networks are adding to confusion.

    He also points out that some harvesting firms have cut through vertically - EnOcean, Microstrain and Perpetuum to name three - but in a limited way by offering a complete package to a particular industry.

    "Those solutions may be ideal for the intended application but for other applications new products need to be continually developed," said Das.

     "We are beginning to see much needed collaboration between all the component players in the value chain to tackle this problem - which is a huge opportunity for those that get it right."

    IDTechEx is organising the Energy Harvesting & Storage conference and exhibition in Munich on June 21-22.