Self Powering Autonomous Sensors Project

Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd (GSSL – project lead) in conjunction with project partners Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd (SLE) and the Institute of Thin Films & Sensors, University of the West of Scotland have secured an Innovate UK Collaborative Research & Development Project from the recent Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Electronics call. Project value £450k.

This project addresses the need for an energy harvesting method compatible with economic deployment and extended battery life/ self powering for autonomous electronics, focussing on the use of SLE’s innovative high efficiency light energy harvester. The autonomous electronics  platform used for the project comprises wireless multiple sensors (carbon dioxide (CO2) /temperature /humidity /light /dew point) combined with embedded data processing and datalogging electronics for use in applications such as building/ home automation, horticulture and medical devices.

A key objective is demonstration of the energy harvester for use in various lighting scenarios, in particular indoor low level lighting conditions. Other activities include power management interface with sensors and embedded electronic modules and use with long life rechargeable thin film batteries and/or super capacitors. The high-efficiency energy harvesting method provides potential for “fit and forget” deployment of autonomous electronics based controllers in smart wireless sensor networks. Limitations of batteries are addressed by holistically optimising energy generation and storage, power management and power consuming sub-systems in order to dramatically extend battery lifetime.

The consortium includes end user assessment in the building and horticulture sectors, representing growing requirements in established and emerging global markets for indoor air quality monitoring and demand control within the building, transport and horticulture sectors in order to meet occupant well-being, energy efficiency, and food production targets. In addition, portable/ wearable sensors for diagnostic/ management of medical conditions are a relevant market to this project, investigating potential for autonomous capnography monitors.

The project brings together a world-class consortium, combining capabilities in GSSL sensor research, development & production, SLE’s energy harvester and UWS thin film battery/ energy storage.

About Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd

Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd – GSS was established June 2006 with funding from Tweed Renaissance Investment Capital & Scottish Co-Investment Fund. GSSL is the leading supplier of low power consumption and fast response carbon dioxide non-dispersive infrared gas sensors. Currently GSS produce the world’s lowest power consumption and fastest response non-dispersive infrared carbon dioxide sensors, trademarked as COZIR and SprintIR respectively. The patented sensor technology has received international acclaim and is a recent recipient of an Institute of Physics 2014 Innovation Award. GSSL products are in full production at the companies Glasgow based facilities, with over 100,000 sensors deployed worldwide for use in various applications including indoor air quality control/ energy reduction in buildings, industrial safety, horticulture and medical capnography for diagnostics/ management of acute and chronic respiratory conditions.


About Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd

Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd (SLE) was founded in 1990 as the first overseas R&D laboratory of Sharp Corporation (Japan).  SLE develops new technology for Sharp products, supporting Sharp’s manufacturing and product development activities in UK, Europe and Japan.  SLE is a UK private limited company, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp Electronics Europe. SLE facilities in Oxford undertake R&D on displays and embedded electronics, health and medical devices, energy and environmental solutions, and system devices.  SLE has an excellent record of technology transfer starting with the development of a neural network microwave oven in 1994, which was manufactured at Sharp’s factory in Wrexham and sold on the European market. SLE has played a prominent role in the development of Sharp products since, creating and commercialising new technologies such as no glasses 3D displays, dual view displays, privacy mode displays and lasers.

About University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) was formally established in 2007 and has origins dating back to 1897. The Institute of Thin Films & Sensors is a centre of excellence and key laboratory in Britain for the development of thin film technology, sensors and smart microsystems. The institute has received extensive funding supports from EPSRC, Scottish Council, RSE, EU, and STFC, etc. in the past 15 years, and has world leading facilities in thin films, sensors, energy storage & energy management and deployment of wireless sensor networks. The staffs at the institute are very much focussed on innovative and applied research solutions, applying sensor and smart microsystems expertise into applications in buildings, horticulture and medical devices. The institute works closely with other UWS research institutes in Engineering and Energy Technologies – rechargeable thin film batteries & fuel cells, sports medicine and biomedical and environmental health research.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), established by the UK Government in 2007 and sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Innovate UK’s role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. Innovate UK promote, support and invest in technology research, development and commercialisation with the aim of spreading knowledge and bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances.