Supercapacitors For Energy Management In Autonomous Sensor Nodes (Energy Storage Innovations USA 2017)

Prof Nihal Kularatna, Associate Professor
The University of Waikato
New Zealand


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Presentation Summary

Sensors can be in the forest, around the city or in an automated manufacturing environment. In many cases, powering sensors and IOTs by a central power source creates challenges. Autonomous operation of sensors could eliminate many such challenges, by primarily addressing two basic elements: (i) energy harvesting and storage (ii) power management and protection.
Effectively configuring supercapacitors for energy harvesting can assist in such situations, avoiding the longer-term issues with batteries. By the use of supercapacitor families with low equivalent series resistance (ESR) and low leakage currents, electronics and processing requirements at an autonomous sensor node could also be addressed with low-power minimum-component approaches.
Presentation will demonstrate the advantages of energy harvesters based on supercapacitors, and also how the power management/protection needs also could be cost effectively managed by novel supercapacitor assisted (SCA) techniques. Examples include an energy harvester in an automation environment as well as the SCA techniques used in high efficiency linear DC-DC converters, and, low component count surge protectors, demonstrating the practical value of supercapacitors in the range of lower-cost 0.2 F to 300 F devices.

Speaker Biography (Nihal Kularatna)

Nihal Kularatna is currently research-active in non-traditional supercapacitor applications, power management and power conditioning. He has contributed over 130 publications to learned journals and international conferences, including 8 reference books for professional engineers. His work on non-traditional supercapacitor circuit topologies/techniques such as SCALDO, SCASA and SCATMA culminated US, PCT and NZ patents and several more are pending. He was the winner of New Zealand Innovator of the Year 2013 Award.
After his graduation in 1976, he has worked in civil aviation, telecommunications and industrial research for 25 years, before moving to academia in New Zealand in 2002. Before his move to academia he held the position of CEO of the Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies. He is presently an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, the University of Waikato
His important contributions include two IET Electrical Measurement Series books titled Modern electronic test & measuring instruments (1996) and Digital and analogue instrumentation- testing and measurement (2003/2008) and three Elsevier (USA) titles. His recent research monograph on energy storage systems, titled Energy storage devices for electronic systems: rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors, was published by Elsevier in 2015, summarizing his commercially oriented research during the last five years, supervising many PhD students at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
He is a Fellow of the IET (London), Fellow of IPENZ and a Senior Member of IEEE (USA) and a graduate from the University of Ceylon (1976). He was conferred with a Doctor of Science degree by the University of Waikato in 2015. His hobbies are gardening and car grooming.

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