A smarter power grid means making the most of energy wherever it’s located, and bringing waste to a minimum. One technology company is taking...

A smarter power grid means making the most of energy wherever it’s located, and bringing waste to a minimum. One technology company is taking that goal to a whole new level with an IPv6 wireless sensor network that’s completely self-powered.

California-based Dust Networks plans to demonstrate its SmartMesh IP 6LoWPAN wireless network, which runs on harvested energy, at the IDTechEx Wireless Sensor Network & RTLS Summit in Munich, Germany, this week. The company claims it’s the first time anywhere that all of the nodes in the network, including the IPv6 routing nodes, will be powered by harvested energy.

The energy harvesting is made possible by a variety of devices, including a thermogenerator from Germany’s Micropelt and a rechargeable solid-state battery that’s trickle-charged by a small, off-the-shelf daylight-powered solar collector.

“With the further decreased power requirements of Dust’s new SmartMesh IP technology, we can now run even more applications on thermoharvesters at rather low gradients, eliminating both wires and battery maintenance,” said Burkhard Habbe, vice president of business development for Micropelt.

“With no wires to install and no batteries to change, the initial and ongoing costs of installation and maintenance are slashed,” added Brenda Glaze, vice president of sales and marketing for Dust Networks.

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