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‘World’s first’ wireless temperature sensor harvests heat energy

20 May, 2015

At last month’s Hannover Fair, ABB announced what it claims is the world’s first wireless temperature sensor that powers itself. The TSP300-W WirelessHart sensor needs no wiring, no external power supply and, in some applications, no replacement batteries.

The autonomous sensor is powered by an on-board micro-thermoelectric generator which is driven by the difference in temperature between the process and its surroundings. The generator can harvest energy from either hot or cold processes.

ABB claims that the technology can cut installation costs by up to 30% compared to standard wired Hart sensors, and is up to 75% quicker to install. No junction boxes or wiring infrastructure are needed, and device diagnostics can be performed remotely.

At Hannover, ABB was also showing a wireless pressure transmitter designed to be powered by an external energy harvester.

The wireless devices incorporate a “unique” energy management technology, based on an ultra-low power design that extends battery life significantly, and is said to increase network reliability. A ten-year battery life is said to be possible with update rates of up to 32 seconds.

ABB's wireless sensors power themselves by harvesting heat energy from their surroundings

The sensors use a common HMI platform for easier network access, device parameterisation and troubleshooting. They can be configured using Hart handheld terminals and can be integrated into control systems such as ABB’s System 800xA.

The wireless sensors are expected to be particularly attractive for measurement and communication applications with installations that are not easy to wire, such as mobile equipment. The products will be available initially in Europe, followed by other countries a few months later.

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