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RF Wireless Power Transfer for IoT Applications

Time: Thu 2022-03-17 13.15

Location: Ka-Sal C (Sven-Olof Öhrvik), Kistagången 16, Kista

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Language: English

Subject area: Information and Communication Technology

Doctoral student: Morteza Tavana , Kommunikationssystem, CoS

Opponent: Assistant Professor Ayça Özçelikkale, Uppsala University

Supervisor: Professor Emil Björnson, Kommunikationssystem, CoS; Jens Zander, Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)

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QC 20220223


With the emergence of the Internet of things (IoT) networks, the replacement of batteries for IoT devices became challenging. In particular, the battery replacement is more expensive and cumbersome for scenarios where there are many IoT devices; or where the IoT devices are in unreachable locations; or when they have to be replaced often. Some IoT devices might be lost or forgotten, and there is a risk of hazardous chemicals leakage and e-waste in large scale in nature. Radio frequency (RF) wireless power transfer (WPT) is an alternative technology for powering those devices. It has been shown that only less than one millionth of the transmitted energy is absorbed by the receivers, the rest is absorbed by the objects in the environment. We can utilize the existing infrastructure for wireless communications such as base stations (BS) to charge IoT devices.

The present work is devoted to analyze the feasibility and limitations of the battery-less operation of IoT devices with RF WPT technology and energy harvesting from existing infrastructure for wireless communications. We study the indoor and outdoor scenarios for powering of IoT devices.

In the first scenario, we consider an outdoor environment where an IoT device periodically harvests energy from an existing BS and transmits a data packet related to the sensor measurement under shadow fading channel conditions. We analyze the limits (e.g., coverage range) of energy harvesting from a BS for powering IoT devices. We characterize the "epsilon-coverage range, where" is the probability of the coverage. Our analysis shows a tradeoff between the coverage range and the rate of sensor measurements, where the maximal "epsilon-coverage range is achieved as the sensor measurement rate approaches zero. We demonstrate that the summation of the sleep power consumption and the harvesting sensitivity power of an IoT device limits the maximal "epsilon-coverage range. Beyond that range, the IoT device cannot harvest enough energy to operate. The desired rate of the sensor measurements also significantly impacts the "epsilon-coverage range. We also compare the operational domain in terms of the range and measurement rate for the WPT and battery-powered technologies.

In the second scenario, we consider the remote powering of IoT devices inside an aircraft. Sensors currently deployed on board have wired connectivity, which increases weight and maintenance costs for aircraft. Removing cables for wireless communications of sensors on board alleviates the cost, however, the powering of sensors becomes a challenge inside aircraft. We assume that the IoT devices have fixed and known locations inside an aircraft. The design problem is to minimize the number of WPT transmitters given constraints based on the cabin geometry and duty cycle of the IoT devices. We formulate a robust optimization problem to address the WPT system design under channel uncertainties. We also derive an equivalent integer linear programming and solve that for an optimal deployment to satisfy the duty cycle requirements of the cabin sensors.