But that’s not the only problem. Battery life is still an issue (despite improvements), especially for those with high discharge rates. Non-rechargeable batteries, on average, can’t last longer than three years and rechargeable versions struggle to go beyond 10. Disposal of these batteries then becomes a serious difficulty and risk to the environment, especially if that process isn’t handled properly. Replacing these retired batteries then brings further costs and repeats the cycle of risk and waste, and in many cases danger for workers.
Tackling battery dependency
So what can we do? Shall we look for an alternative to batteries altogether? In the short term, no. Batteries still have an incredibly important role to play in the short-medium future, especially for electric transport. While there are downsides, in many cases batteries are still a far better choice than using fossil fuels which continue to severely damage the planet’s delicate climate. Instead of getting rid of batteries, we should reduce our dependence on them as much as possible.
Energy harvesting at the source of where we need power is one of the keys for this to happen. To make this happen, AND Technology Research (ANDtr) are working in partnership with global chip manufacturer, Renesas, utilising their new ultra-low powered SOTB (Silicon on Thin Buried Oxide) micro-controller which now makes energy harvesting a viable source of power for many previously battery-powered devices. The SOTB technology overcomes significant technical challenges of self-powering devices requiring far less in-rush current (the power needed to start up a device) than a traditional micro-controller. This means that the SOTB micro-controller can utilise a combination of extreme low stand-by and active power usage, switching efficiently between modes and reducing the consumption requirements.