TPL, Inc. announced that the patented EnerPak™ energy harvesting power management systems have successfully completed two years of field-testing. Several EnerPak systems are powering a network of wireless measurement sensors that monitor the performance of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-insulated components. These components are at a power substation owned by Public Service of New Mexico (PNM), New Mexico’s largest electric utility, located in Albuquerque. According to TPL, this significant milestone demonstrates the performance and reliability of self-powered wireless sensors and networks using the EnerPak power management system. The EnerPak leverages the ultra-low-power MSP430™ microcontroller (MCU) from Texas Instruments Inc. (TI).
SF6 is one of the worst greenhouse gases in existence. PNM developed a wireless measurement and reporting system to continuously measure the integrity of the components that use SF6, to reduce the potential damage to the environment. When the utility first trialed their system, using conventional batteries for sensor powering, they found the batteries failing within a few weeks. PNM then turned to TPL to determine if TPL’s EnerPak could provide reliable, long-term power for their wireless sensor network. The EnerPak power systems replaced the conventional battery power system in September, 2008.