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Solid State Batteries for Industrial Applications

Application Note: A vision for Industrial Internet of Things (Industry 4.0)

Introduction

Moving industry towards an era of full automation and smart manufacturing within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Industry 4.0) requires new ecosystems with people, products, machines and services connected through the cloud. This interconnection requires the deployment of small size sensor nodes which can be autonomously powered.

Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity is currently often done using cabled devices or conventional battery powered devices. Using these incumbent technologies has installation & maintenance costs associated with such factors as the cost of deploying cables and retro-fitting sensors in old buildings, plus changing batteries at regular intervals. Further, it is often impractical and sometimes impossible when sensors and devices need to be placed in: 

Currently deployed batteries include polymer or liquid electrolytes which limit the operating temperature window and may leak with high vibrations. Industrial cylindrical primary batteries are available which may operate to 160°C, but these are quite bulky (AA type). Some primary coin cells operate up to 125°C, but are not rechargeable. Rechargeable coin cells often have a 70°C top operating temperature, too low for some industrial applications. 

Rechargeable coin cells often have a 70°C top operating temperature, too low for some industrial applications.

Application examples

Deployment of sensor nodes are required for:

List of temperatures which sensors may be typically exposed to in various industries:

Market

Access to power is key to enabling IIoT

Replacing incumbent technology with Solid State Batteries (SSB) in IIoT makes sense:

The hidden cost of ownership

Solution offered by Stereax SSB

Ilika’s Stereax SSB do not have liquid or polymer electrolytes which may leak in high vibration environment. They use solid components with higher resistance to temperature than incumbent technologies. Stereax batteries currently operate to 100°C, which is higher than coin cells and other solid state batteries, but requirements for higher temperature exist.

A variant of Ilika’s SSB, mainly by selecting materials which can tolerate higher temperature, may be able to meet these requirements.

SSB have a small footprint, typically around 1 cm2 and are ultra-thin (<1 mm), so they may be integrated in Systems on Chip with little space restrictions. They also have high energy density (currently 250 μAh/cm2) and power (>5 mA), which is sufficient to power autonomous sensor systems with Bluetooth LE transmission.

Combining an SSB with an energy harvester (a PV panel, vibration or thermal energy harvester), allows the fabrication of “perpetual” sources of energy: the energy harvester provides energy when it is available (e.g. during the day for a PV panel) and charges the battery which can be then used when the source of energy has disappeared (e.g. at night). Hence, such a device can function for many years (typically > 10 years), i.e. longer than the device that they will power. 

 

Figure 1: Graphic representation of 250 µAh Stereax M250 solid state battery.

Figure 2: Photographic picture of 250 µAh Stereax M250 solid state battery.

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