Darnell Group has just-released its fourth-edition analysis of "Energy Harvesting & Related Energy Storage Devices, Worldwide Forecasts" at this week’s Techno Frontier exposition in Tokyo. Although Energy Harvesting is still an emerging industry, it is already providing opportunities for a number of industries and applications. In this 88-page quantitative report over 50 illustrations are presented depicting a variety of growth rates, market shares, technology comparisons and other relevant information. The focus of this comprehensive analysis is to provide decision makers with an insightful look into the current opportunities in the Energy Harvesting market.

Building Automation was one of the first applications to adopt both wireless sensor networks and energy harvesting solutions on a large commercial scale, and it is expected to present one of the best opportunities in the energy harvesting node market. Despite the opportunities in this segment, it will maintain one of the lower growth rates among the applications presented. One of the reasons for this is that it is a more mature application and will start with a higher unit number. Building automation is considered an "early adopter" of energy harvesting technologies, and other segments are expected to catch up to it as costs come down.

As an emerging technology, the further development of the energy harvesting market is highly reliant on the adoption of standards and regulations. Their adoption is expected to accelerate the development and implementation of energy-optimized wireless sensors and wireless sensor networks. Standards are also projected to open up new markets and areas of application for energy harvesting solutions.

One of the more important new standards for 2012 is ISO/IEC 14543-3-10 – for wireless applications with ultra-low power consumption. This standard was ratified by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is the first and only wireless standard that is also optimized for energy harvesting solutions. It lays the foundation for fully interoperable, open wireless technology comparable to standards such as Bluetooth and WiFi. The new standard is geared to wireless sensors and wireless sensor networks with ultra-low power consumption.

This report also looks at four energy harvesting technologies: photovoltaic, thermoelectric/other, mechanical vibration/piezoelectric, and radio frequency (RF). Enough commercial development has occurred since the last report to look at these markets in detail – both in terms of the technologies themselves, as well as which technologies are exhibiting the most commercial adoption. Of these, Mechanical Vibration/Piezoelectric is expected to be the largest segment. In fact, harvesting energy from "waste" vibration present in the environment has seen an increasing interest over the past several years as part of the general heightened awareness for alternative energy sources. Energy storage is also projected to play an essential role in ambient energy harvesting systems.

Although energy harvesting is often described as a "battery-less" technology, in reality, in many applications energy harvesting will be used to run devices when they can, but then need to store excess energy for later use. Both primary and especially rechargeable batteries are seen as a concurrent and critical market with energy harvesting solutions. The forecasts and discussion presented in the report look at the role of battery solutions in energy harvesting technology.

Complete information on the fourth-edition analysis of "Energy Harvesting & Related Energy Storage Devices, Worldwide Forecasts" can be found here.

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.