Merrett, Geoff V. and Weddell, Alex S.
Supercapacitor leakage in energy-harvesting sensor nodes: fact or fiction?
At International Workshop Algorithms and Concepts for Networked Sensing Systems Powered by Energy Harvesters 2012 (EnHaNSS'12), Belgium.
11 Jun 2012.
As interest in energy-harvesting sensor nodes continues to grow, the use of supercapacitors as energy stores or buffers is gaining popularity. The reasons for their use are numerous, and include their high power density, simple interfacing requirements, simpler measurement of state-of-charge, and a greater number of charging cycles than secondary batteries. However, supercapacitor energy densities are orders of magnitude lower. Furthermore, they have been reported to exhibit significant leakage, and this has been shown to increase exponentially with terminal voltage (and hence stored energy). This observation has resulted in a number of algorithms, designs and methods being proposed for effective operation of supercapacitor-based energy-harvesting sensor nodes. In this paper, it is argued that traditional ‘leakage’ is not as significant as has commonly been suggested. Instead, what is observed as leakage is in fact predominantly due to internal charge redistribution. As a result, it is suggested that different approaches are required in order to effectively utilize supercapacitors in energy-harvesting sensor nodes.
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