Abstract

Energy harvesting offers a promising alternative to solve the sustainability limitations arising from battery size constraints in sensor networks. Several considerations in using an environmental energy source are fundamentally different from using batteries. Rather than a limit on the total energy, harvesting transducers impose a limit on the instantaneous power available. Further, environmental energy availability is often highly variable and a deterministic metric such as residual battery capacity is not available to characterize the energy source. The different nodes in a sensor network may also have different energy harvesting opportunities. Since the same end-user performance may be achieved using different workload allocations at multiple nodes, it is important to adapt the workload allocation to the spatio-temporal energy availability profile in order to enable energy-neutral operation of the network. This paper describes power management techniques for such energy harvesting sensor networks. Platform design considerations as well as power scaling techniques at the node-level and network-level are described.