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MEMS Energy Harvesting Devices market

27 Feb 2009

Lyon, February 24th - Yole Développement releases its new report dedicated to MEMS energy harvesting devices. Special attention has been given to the market drivers for adopting MEMS energy harvesting devices in different market segments, factoring the progress of competing technologies and cost constraints. It appears that the numerous opportunities for energy harvesting devices must be analyzed carefully, taking into ac-count all aspects of the final application from power consumption profiles to lifetime and size constraints. Applications screened cover automotive, medical, industrial ma-chine monitoring and process control, home automation and defense.

Main challenges: Within an environmentally conscious world, MEMS energy harvesting devices promise in principle a cleaner and almost perpetual solution to powering small systems avoiding the use and waste of polluting batteries. Ever optimistic market projections are predicting billions of dollars in revenue for ubiq-uitous sensor networks in the next five to ten years and derive from these numbers large energy harvesting sales and volumes.

And indeed, MEMS energy harvesting devices have been a hot topic in MEMS R&D for some years with spectacular developments driven by DARPA programs within the Hi-MEMS cyborg insects.

"The reality is that beyond the technological buzz, commercial applications are slowly starting to get to market for industrial applications and home automation appliances. This is driving the first volumes for energy harvesting applications, but not necessarily at the micro scale," explained Ridha Hamza, Project Manager at Yole Développement. Hot market segments in 2007 and 2008 such as tire pressure monitoring systems where batteries are currently the dominant solution have driven enormous efforts but the market dynamics have not made it possible to accept a premium price for alternative solutions.

Yole has focused its efforts in this report into a fine analysis of the market drivers for using MEMS energy harvesting devices, in comparison to micro batteries, micro fuel cells, or even solar cells. Different application fields from medical to home automation, industrial process control, machine monitoring or automotive have been analyzed in this report.

The challenges facing this technology were examined in a broad view, from a technology but also from a whole product point of view. There are needs for better power density but also for less power consuming electronics and wireless communications.

Market metrics: Market acceptance of MEMS energy harvesting devices is a function of several parameters that are studied in the report. These parameters include, but are not limited to: size, cost, amount of power generated versus amount of power needed by the system and projected lifetime for the energy harvesting device compared to the system parts lifetime.

A major factor to be taken into account is whether there is enough power harvested for a particular application from a particular environment, and whether the scavenged power needs to be stored. As piezoelectric MEMS energy harvesting devices can cur-rently power sensor nodes requiring 60 µW according to the latest developments, a companion energy storage device would be necessary for most applications. Commercial success will come from a full understanding of all aspects of the system to be powered and of the data receiver nodes. Challenges include ultra low power electronics and wireless data transmissions rates and standards.

MEMS Energy Harvesting Devices, Technologies & Markets report is available from:

Yole Développement
45 Rue Ste Geneviève,
69006 Lyon, France

Tel : +33 (0) 472 83 01 80
Fax : +33 (0) 472 83 01 83

www.yole.fr

About Yole Développement: please contact Jean Christophe Eloy, CEO, eloy@yole.fr
About this report: Ridha Hamza (Hamza@yole.fr) and Laurent Robin (robin@yole.fr)

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