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Emerging Energy Harvesting Devices

energy harvesting module market by application
5 990 €

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YOLE Em.Energing Harvesting 2012Energy harvesters finally challenge batteries into wireless sensors for building and industrial markets.


This Yole Développement report describes why and how emerging Energy Harvesting devices will be increasingly used in the dynamic wireless sensor business.

Until now, batteries were dominantly used to power those networks, but progress in low power electronics and communication protocols  are enabling sensor networks to run off energy harvesters  in conditions where it’s not practical to replace batteries.  The report provides an overview of the Energy Harvesting applications with a focus on building and industrial applications. 

Building applications are by far the main use for energy harvesters with 1M units sold in 2011.  They are used in commercial building where large networks of wireless switches (for lighting) and sensors (presence, humidity…) are installed.  The clear market drivers for energy harvesters are the huge installation cost reduction (no wiring), and their being maintenance free.  Hence, production will be multiplied by a factor of more than 10 between 2012 and 2017.

The Industrial market will be the second key area for energy harvesters, again with applications in wireless sensors that are used to monitor machines and processes. Energy harvesters increase the autonomy of the battery and thus the measurement data rates which are today limited with batteries.  Maintenance free is also a great argument for EH in those applications where accessibility is sometimes critical (oil & gas industry for instance).  Today, sales are limited because there is no real agreement on a low power radio protocol, as in buildings, but this will soon change and will allow significant price reduction and production ramp-up to several hundred thousand units in 2017.

Other emerging applications will also likely adopt energy harvesters to replace batteries in wireless sensors applications and will add additional volumes to the global energy harvester business: transportation (helicopters, trains), automotive TPMS, environmental, medical….  Yole’s report provides an analysis of the market drivers and challenges for energy harvesters, and identifies the real businesses among hype applications.

Overall, the global emerging Energy Harvesting business at the wireless module level will grow from $19 M in 2012 to $227 M in 2017, meaning a impressive growth of  + 51 % /year.

Energy Harvesting module market by application


Wireless sensor modules require a power source from tens of microwatts up to tens of milliwatts, and energy harvesters have now enough power output in many applications to provide an infinite lifetime to those modules. The scope of technology candidates is very broad, with very variable technological maturity. The Yole report provides a technological analysis of the different Energy Harvesting technologies currently used and under development, along with their strengths and limitations. Those technologies have been segmented by mechanical, thermal and solar PV categories. The report provides market share of each technology per application, trend until 2017, and market forecast.

Mechanical and thermal are the most dynamic and innovative technologies and will experience a rapid adoption in several markets (building, industry, transportation) that will drive their sales to reach respectively 39% and 25% of the total Energy Harvesting sales in 2017. Price erosion will be very significant (-12%/year) thanks to production ramp up.

Energy Harvesting devices produced by MEMS technologies will be mainly thermal thin-film technology whose production will start industrially in 2012. Other mechanical vibration MEMS harvesters will take longer time to be adopted specially for TPMS due to cost challenge

Energy Harvesting Technologies Market

The report identifies and positions the key Energy Harvesting market players depending on the technologies developed, the level of maturity, the business model and the markets targeted. The dynamics of the supply chain is analyzed to understand who are the key market players in each application field and at both the transducer and module, as well as how the competitive landscape will evolve.

Energy Harvesting Food chain and players

Table of contents

Companies Cited in this Report
Market Research Scope and Methodology
Energy Harvesting Definitions
Comparison with 2009 Report
Changes for the 2012 Report
Executive Summary
Acquisitions and recent known funding
Noteworthy News 2009 - 2012
Energy Harvesting Market drivers and Challenges
Energy Harvesting Applications 35
> Estimated accessible markets, growth rate and time to market
> Applications Characteristics, market price and accessibility for Energy Harvesting
> Energy Harvesting power output requirements and performances trends
> Energy Harvesting market forecast ( in Munits) - Split by application
> Energy Harvesting market forecast ( in M$) - Split by application
> Energy Harvesting applications summary
> Energy Harvesting challenges
> Energy Harvesting Market drivers

Building Applications 47

> Field overview
> Wireless technologies
> Wireless Sensor market
> Wireless applications
> Energy Harvesting devices adoption
> Market forecast and energy harvesting adoption
> Energy harvesting types
> Field overview : time to market
> Application : Wireless switch – application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players
> Application : Wireless sensors - application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy Harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players
> Application : Valves for water based heaters - application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy Harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players, time to market
> Commercial building example
> Market structure
> Main players- supply chain
> Conclusions

Industrial Applications 67

> Field overview
> Wireless Sensor Network and energy Harvesting market drivers
> Energy harvesting limitations
> WSN Energy consumption trend
> Wireless sensor business and energy harvester adoption
> Energy Harvesting types
> Field overview : time to market
> WSN – standardization
> Condition monitoring : application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players
> Condition monitoring main players- supply chain
> Conclusions

Transportation Helicopters and Trains 85

> Field overview
> Application : Helicopters - application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players, time to market
> Application : Sensing for trains and rails - application description, operating pricinple, performances, energy harvesting drivers and limitations, technologies and players, time to market

Automotive Applications 90

> Field overview
> Automotive TPMS - Application description
> Automotive TPMS - TPMS Market
> Automotive TPMS - TPMS module
> Automotive TPMS - Smart Tires approach with energy harvesting
> Automotive TPMS - Energy Harvesting market drivers
> Automotive TPMS - Energy Harvesting limitations
> Automotive TPMS - Energy Harvesting time to market
> Automotive TPMS - Vibration energy Harvesting solutions
> Automotive other applications
> Conclusions

Other Applications 105
> Environmental monitoring
> Medical Applications - Field overview
> Medical applications - Pacemakers
> Medical applications - Non invasive applications
> Consumer electronics - Chip Thermal Management
> Consumer electronics - Chip Thermal Management
> Consumer electronics - Mobile electronics
> Consumer electronics - Remote control
> Other Energy Harvesting Applications

MEMS in Energy Harvesting Applications 119

> Market opportunities
> Energy Harvesting Technologies
> MEMS Market Potential Overview

Technology Review 123

> Energy Harvesters Form factor
> Energy Harvesting Technologies - Power output positionning
> Energy Harvesting Technologies - Players
> Energy Harvesting Technologies - R&D labs
> Energy Harvesting Technologies -time to market
> Energy Harvesting Technologies - Sales forecast (in units)
> Energy Harvesting Technologies- Sales forecast (in value)
> Type of harvesters and production techniques (MEMS/ non MEMS)

Vibration energy harvesting 133

> Comparison of the main technological principles
> Electromagnetic converters
> Piezoelectric techniques
> Electrostatic converters
> A key characteristic for a vibration harvester : frequency tuning
> Difficult performance evaluation
> Roadmap Example: CEA-LETI

Mechanical pulse Harvesting 143

Thermal Harvesting 145
> Thermoelectric converters
> Thi films thermoelectric converters
> Thin film vs. Standard TE
> Pyroelectric converters

Other types of energy Harvesting 151

> Photovoltaic (PV)
> Glucose fuel cells

Wireless Sensor Module Analysis 154

> Wireless Sensor Networks Principles
> Integration & operating mode
> Module Cost Breakdown
> Transducer/energy harvester & battery
> Power management in Wireless Sensors
> Ultra Low Power electronics
> Power management module
> Microbatteries
> Sensing system
> Radio protocols
> Conclusions and main trends

Overview of Manufacturers’ Positioning and Technologies 171

> Acquisitions and recent known funding
> Energy Harvesting start up companies history and funding
> Main players by markets
> Main players by transducer types
> Energy Harvesting Supply Chain with Current Key Players
> Key energy Harvesting transducer players positioning and collaboration
> Energy Harvesting manufacturers Main trends

Conclusions 179

Company Profiles 182
> Energy Harvesting Main players and status
> Company Profiles Small Mechanical
> Company Profiles Large mechanical
> Company Profiles Standard & Thin Film Thermoelectric
> Company Profiles Thin film batteries / Power management
> Company Profiles R&D centers
> Company Profiles Module manufacturers
> Company Profiles ULP manufacturers


Companies Cited

Advanced ceramics
Alphabet energy
Bently Nevada (GEEnergy)
Boston Scientific
CEA Leti
Cymbet Corporation
Dust Networks / Linear Technology
GE Bently Nevada (GEEnergy)
Global Thermoelectric
Holst centre / IMEC

Infinite Power Solutions
Laird technologies
Lightning switch
Linear technology
LV Sensors
Marlow Industries
Microgene systems
National instrument

Phononic devices
Saint Jude
Savi Technology
Schneider Electric
Siemens Corporate Technology
Texas Instrument
TPL micro power



  • Provide an understanding of the Energy Harvesting applications:
    - Focus on building and industrial applications : TAM, market drivers and challenges, technologies roadmap, players, main trends.
    - Overview of transportation (helicopter, trains), automotive TPMS, other automotive applications, environmental, medical, consumer electronics
    - Roadmap with time to market by application
  • Present market forecasts on Energy Harvesting business:
    - 2011-2017 Market Forecast in units and US$ for energy harvesting modules
    - Price evolution by application
    - Forecast by application and by technologies (thermal, mechanical, PV)
  • Describe the Energy Harvesting technologies (thermal, mechanical, PV)
    - Working principle, manufacturing methods, advantages/limitations, status of development, price, time to market.
  • Analyse wireless sensors modules architecture and the impact on Energy Harvesters
    - Main components used, cost breakdown
    - Analysis of the power management issues and power consumption trends
    - Analysis of the wireless radio protocol impact on power consumption
  • Describe and analyse the competitive landscape
    - Recent aquisitions and fundings
    - companies news
    - Who are the key players at the transducer and wireless module levels today and our analysis of the trends for the next 5 years