As the number of IoT devices increases, so does the number of spent batteries that have to be dealt with. Making battery lifespans longer is one of the responses to this major environmental and societal challenge. The CEA Tech institutes are developing technologies and contributing to research and development projects to do just that.
IoT devices generally last around ten years, but the batteries that power them have to be replaced after an average of just two. According to some estimates, there will be a trillion IoT devices in service by 2025. That means 78 million batteries will be disposed of every day from 2025 on—if nothing is done.
To head off this environmental disaster in the making, batteries must be designed to outlive the devices they power. Researchers are currently focusing on several ways to make this happen. The first is to embed ambient energy harvesting capabilities and improve the associated energy storage systems.
CEA-Leti, for example, is developing micro-batteries using the same thin-film technologies used in the microelectronics industry. Mechanical and thermoelectric energy harvesters are also being investigated by CEA-Leti and CEA-Liten, respectively. The energy management systems currently on the drawing board (again, at CEA-Leti) will help make using energy harvesters to charge batteries more efficient.
Last, but not least, the CEA Tech institutes are engaged in initiatives like the EU EnABLES project, which will enable manufacturing companies to work with research labs on their IoT power technology feasibility studies. Stay tuned for more exciting developments to come!
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.