ECE Seminar Series: Energy Harvesting (EH) Opportunities in 5G

ECE title

ECE Seminar Series Fall 2017

Monday October 16th 11:00am-12:00 PM, ITE 401

Energy Harvesting (EH) Opportunities in 5G

Brian Zahnstecher


Abstract: We have all seen plenty of the marketing hype for what will eventually become 5G in the ~2020 production deployment timeframe. At PowerRox, we have spent the last year trying to shed light on the most critical aspects of the network (from architecture to utilization), which are the paradigm shifts in power electronics and power utilization required to enable 5G. Now, we can investigate further into one of the most interesting, yet highly underappreciated, opportunities in 5G power…energy harvesting (EH). Everyone likes the thought of free, ambient energy, but most think this technology neither produces a usable amount of power nor has a production ecosystem mature enough for a telecom deployment. This talk will not only help to dispel these perceptions, but also help open the eyes of attendees to applications that they might not have otherwise thought were possible and/or applicable to telco applications (with a special focus on 5G).

Energy harvesting (EH) presents a host of interesting and useful applications that can be utilized today as well as provides a roadmap for enhancing/increasing application use cases moving forward. From mW to MW, there are scalable EH technologies to take advantage of nearly every energy source physics affords us (i.e. – kinetic, thermal, RF, photovoltaic, piezoelectric, vibrational, etc.). The major shift from macro towers to heterogeneous networks (HetNets) of many small cells makes 5G an ideal candidate for EH applications. Battery mitigation is a key goal of EH technology initially by supplementing battery power to extend battery life and eventually disposing of them altogether. Even security at many network points from the base station to the grid-level can benefit from EH by achieving grid independence and/or inhibiting undesired network penetration.

This talk will provide attendees with a wealth of knowledge and thought-provoking insight on how EH can be applied to 5G and creative applications beyond. First, we will provide a quick overview of EH sources/technologies, and review the transducers, power management ICs (PMICs)/topologies, energy storage, and test/measurement solutions that make up the production ecosystem. Then, we will deepdive on the implementation of these constituents into practical power electronics solutions and see how we can scale (even μW) to more usable power levels. Finally, we will close with a number of quick case studies on how to apply EH to 5G (and related) applications at all levels of the network from data center to edge. Additionally, we will look at some more unique applications (i.e. – Security) within 5G that EH is a key enabler for.

Short Bio
: Brian Zahnstecher is a Sr. Member of the IEEE, Chair of the IEEE SF Bay Area Power Electronics Society (PELS), and the Principal of PowerRox, where he focuses on power design, integration, system applications, OEM market penetration, and private seminars for power electronics. He has successfully handled assignments in system design/architecting, AC/DC front-end power, EMC/EMI design/debug, embedded solutions, processor power, and digital power solutions for a variety of clients. He previously held positions in power electronics with industry leaders Emerson Network Power, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard, where he advised on best practices, oversaw product development, managed international teams, created/enhanced optimal workflows and test procedures, and designed and optimized voltage regulators. He has been a regular contributor to the industry as an invited speaker, author, workshop participant, session host, roundtable moderator, and volunteer. He has over 13 years of industry experience and holds Master of Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

PowerRox is a firm dedicated to solving power problems for those seeking to establish or enhance their position in the enterprise and consumer power electronics marketplace. We specialize in improving efficiency, increasing reliability, achieving cost reduction through hands-on support and training/seminars/workshops. We can solve problems in power supply design, power system development, system debug and test, cost/performance analysis, marketing, and re-design. We are committed to meeting all deadlines, performing on-budget, debugging/testing solutions to required levels, and doing the highest quality work possible.