Circuits and Systems for Energy Harvesting and Internet of Things Applications
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The Internet of Things (IoT) continues its growing trend, while new “smart” objects are con-stantly being developed and commercialized in the market. Under this paradigm, every common object will be soon connected to the Internet: mobile and wearable devices, electric appliances, home electronics and even cars will have Internet connectivity. Not only that, but a variety of wireless sensors are being proposed for different consumer and industrial applications. With the possibility of having hundreds of billions of IoT objects deployed all around us in the coming years, the social implications and the economic impact of IoT technology needs to be seriously considered. There are still many challenges, however, awaiting a solution in order to realize this future vision of a connected world. A very important bottleneck is the limited lifetime of battery powered wireless devices. Fully depleted batteries need to be replaced, which in perspective would generate costly maintenance requirements and environmental pollution. However, a very plausible solution to this dilemma can be found in harvesting energy from the ambient. This dissertation focuses in the design of circuits and system for energy harvesting and Internet of Things applications. The ﬁrst part of this dissertation introduces the research motivation and fundamentals of energy harvesting and power management units (PMUs). The architecture of IoT sensor nodes and PMUs is examined to observe the limitations of modern energy harvesting systems. Moreover, several architectures for multisource harvesting are reviewed, providing a background for the research presented here. Then, a new fully integrated system architecture for multisource energy harvesting is presented. The design methodology, implementation, trade-offs and measurement results of the proposed system are described. The second part of this dissertation focus on the design and implementation of low-power wireless sensor nodes for precision agriculture. First, a sensor node incorporating solar energy harvesting and a dynamic power management strategy is presented. The operation of a wireless sensor network for soil parameter estimation, consisting of four nodes is demonstrated. After that, a solar thermoelectric generator (STEG) prototype for powering a wireless sensor node is proposed. The implemented solar thermoelectric generator demonstrates to be an alternative way to harvest ambient energy, opening the possibility for its use in agricultural and environmental applications. The open problems in energy harvesting for IoT devices are discussed at the end, to delineate the possible future work to improve the performance of EH systems. For all the presented works, proof-of-concept prototypes were fabricated and tested. The measured results are used to verify their correct operation and performance.
Estrada Lopez, Johan Jair (2019). Circuits and Systems for Energy Harvesting and Internet of Things Applications. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from