Renesas Electronics unveiled an innovative energy-harvesting embedded controller that can eliminate the need to use or replace batteries in IoT devices. Developed based on Renesas' breakthrough SOTB™ (silicon-on-thin-buried-oxide) process technology, the new embedded controller achieves extreme reduction in both active and standby current consumption, a combination that was not previously possible to achieve in conventional microcontrollers. These extreme low current levels of the SOTB-based embedded controller enables system manufacturers to take a step further and completely eliminate the need for batteries in some of their products through harvesting ambient energy sources such as light, vibration, and flow.
Renesas’ first commercial product using SOTB technology, the R7F0E embedded controller, is a 32-bit, Arm® Cortex®-based embedded controller capable of operating up to 64 MHz for rapid local processing of sensor data and execution of complex analysis and control functions. Consuming just 20 μA/MHz active current, and only 150 nA deep standby current, approximately one-tenth that of conventional low-power MCUs, these industry-leading characteristics make the R7F0E perfectly suited for extreme low-power and energy harvesting applications.
The R7F0E eliminates many challenges faced by system designers who want to build cost-effective products with efficient energy harvesting capabilities. There is a unique and configurable Energy Harvest Controller (EHC) function that increases robustness and minimizes costly external components. The EHC enables direct connection to many different types of ambient energy sources, such as solar, vibration, or piezoelectric, while protecting against harmful inrush current at start-up. The EHC also manages the charging of external power storage devices such as supercapacitors or optional rechargeable batteries (more info).