NB-IoT Module Uses Energy Harvesting for Power-Free Operation

HiSilicon (Shanghai) Ltd and Nowi Energy B.V. have developed the 2nd generation of their Energy Autonomous NB-IoT platform. The device acts as a sensor hub that can transmit via NB-IoT while operating indefinitely through its energy harvesting capabilities. It is based on HiSilicon’s Hi2115 NB-IoT solution and Nowi’s leading NH2 energy harvesting power management IC. The solution removes the need for manual intervention (changing batteries) or cabling to supply power in applications, making it a zero maintenance type of module.

Building upon the success of the 2019 collaboration, HiSilicon and Nowi have optimized the design to resolve customers’ challenges and satisfy new, stricter market requirements to broaden the variety of applications addressed. The platform combines connectivity and energy harvesting in the smallest size possible and offers an open slot on which various sensors can be placed depending on the application need. As such the platform can act as the backbone of countless connected sensor solutions.

HiSilicon and Nowi are offering the reference design and the corresponding schematics for others to build their solutions upon. Many IoT applications require super long deployment lifecycles and direct power connectivity is often not possible. As such, energy autonomy is becoming an important factor. The collaboration with Nowi addresses these demands as their next-generation NH2 device reaches efficiency and size targets which are changing the rule-book on Energy Harvesting. At HiSilicon, we aim towards a fully connected, intelligent world and such partnerships are crucial to achieving this vision. 

The Energy Autonomous NB-IoT V2 Platform solves multiple challenges:
  • Provides a ‘Plug & Forget’ solution capable of multiple transmissions per day indefinitely.
  • Offers a platform that can be tailored to fit many sensor applications with minimal effort.
  • Enables applications that were previously unable to use NB-IoT with energy harvesting due to size constraints.
  • Enables both indoor and outdoor applications.

The 2nd generation Energy Autonomous NB-IoT board has a significantly decreased PCB size and bill of materials. This powerful new design enables new IoT applications that require continuous operation and have fundamental constraints in form factor.

Key Specifications of the Module:
  • 3 Transmissions per day in indoor conditions.
  • 6 Transmissions per day in outdoor conditions.
  • Can operate with a range of photovoltaic (multiple) cells.
  • Dimensions: 5.5cm x 3.5cm.