Research into Power Generation and Translation into Products—Slow but Steady
Murata has yet to open up new energy markets, but has made good progress in research, development and commercialization. We presented some energy harvesting products at CEATEC JAPAN 2011. These products feature technology that converts small amounts of energy existing in the environment into electricity and combines it with low-power sensors and wireless communication equipment. In fact, Murata started studying power generation technology in 2008 and has so far developed 4 power generation elements. All of these exploit so-called ambient energy resources such as vibration, heat, and light. They generate electricity within themselves and use this energy to detect things and send out signals. These wireless products offer long service life even in places that are hard to access for maintenance.
What's more, we are a member of the EnOcean® communication alliance, developing EnOcean® communication modules. Featuring battery-free wireless communication, the EnOcean® technology is regarded as the best energy harvesting solution and is employed by more than 300 companies in the West.
We are going to take a slow-but-steady approach to carefully develop products like these one by one. Then we will ask our customers to use them and get their feedback. After all, I believe manufactured products cannot be completed at a stroke. One can only continue to improve them over time to bring them closer to perfection. The energy market has just opened up and there is much room for further growth. The major nuclear accident in Fukushima has made Japan's energy policy a focus of global attention. Against this backdrop, we want to find ways to contribute to the development of this new market using our proven technologies, while maintaining the sober role of a supplier.
Energy harvesting technology converts small amounts of energy in the environment into electricity and combines it with low-power sensors and wireless communication equipment. All energy harvesting equipment exploits ambient energy resources such as vibration, heat, and light, providing maintenance-free, highly durable energy sources. Murata started studying power generation technology in 2008 and has so far developed 4 power generation elements.
- Power generation element featuring piezoelectric material:
Uses a piezoelectric material to convert force and vibration into electricity.
- Power generation element featuring electret material:
Uses an electret film to convert vibration into electricity.
- Power generation element featuring thermoelectric material:
Employs a thermoelectric material to convert temperature difference into electricity.
- Power generation element featuring sensitizing dye:
Features a dye that emits electrons upon irradiation and uses it to convert light into electricity.
EnOcean® represents the communication standards for energy-harvesting equipment developed by EnOcean GmbH, a spin-off of German electronics giant Siemens AG. Characterized by battery-free wireless transmission, EnOcean® technology is employed by more than 300 companies in the West and more than 650 products are now available in the market.
Major applications of EnOcean® technology include light switches and air-conditioning equipment used in building automation systems. These products have been introduced in more than 200,000 buildings in Europe and other regions. EnOcean® consumes about 1/10th the power required for wireless communication protocols such as ZigBee®. Taking advantage of the battery-free concept, Murata is expanding its lineup of EnOcean® applications.