Chips for energy harvesting is next billion-dollar market

April 28, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Energy harvest
Although energy harvesting has failed to take off to date – usually because it is has been uneconomic compared with installed battery power – it will drive semiconductor sales worth $3 billion in 2020, according to Semico Research (Phoenix, Ariz.).

This drive will be from values of about $200 million and 40 million units shipped in 2015.

The key components for an energy harvesting system include the transducer – whether it is thermal, photovoltaic or vibrational – plus a power management IC, microcontroller and an energy storage device.

Semico Research reckons as the average selling prices (ASPs) for these components decline they are lower costs for energy harvest solutions, even where they only enhance the battery life of battery-driven products, and thus drive higher market penetration

Annual unit shipments over the period 2015 to 2020 will grow to 777 million with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80.6 percent. This would put unit shipments in 2015 at about 40 million and shipments in 2016 at about 70 million.

The annual chip market over the same period will experience a CAGR of 71.4 percent and reach $3 billion. This indicates a market size of about $200 million in 2015 rising to about $350 million in 2016.

Applications that will be among the first to make use of energy harvesting include: wireless sensor nodes (WSNs) for bridges, infrastructure, building automation and controls, and home automation of lighting, security and environmental systems. Energy harvesting will also grow in automotive applications, cell phones, wearables.

"The vendors of MCUs, sensors, RF, analog and other components will continue to develop lower power devices", said Tony Massimini, Semico Research's Chief of Technology, in a statement. "While this puts less drain on a battery and will extend its life, it also lessens the load for an energy harvesting solution. Energy harvesting solutions are also expected to improve during the forecast period."

Related links and articles:

www.semico.com

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