While wireless sensor development has traditionally focused primarily on consumer and commercial markets, its application in industrial markets is generally more technically challenging due to the need for a higher level of robustness and tolerance to harsh environment conditions. Large scale deployment of wireless sensors in power plants had been limited due to temperature control of electronics, high temperature tolerance of energy harvesters, reliability supplying voltage to the sensors, and energy harvester mechanical robustness. KCF Technologies has developed a way to enable continuous wireless vibration monitoring implemented onto high-temperature pieces of power plant equipment. Furthermore, these robust, high-temperature energy harvesters can power sensors with no outside power other than the thermal and vibrational energy they convert to electricity.
Funding source: US Department of Energy SBIR 2010