The news around the Internet of Things (IoT) these days is largely focused on the consumer side of things. Less discussed, but no less essential for the success of IoT, is the energy delivery system. Power is a critical commodity for the Internet of Things. IoT needs to access energy from everywhere at anytime.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of devices are newly connected to the Internet forming a fast growing web of software, wireless devices, homes, factories, power plants, transmission lines and customer responses. Industry leaders predict the number of Internet-connected devices will top 50 billion by 2020. All of these things need power, a lot more power, and a whole new breed of power. This web of devices will be powered by an “Internet of Energy” replacing large centralized power plants with large numbers of small clean power energy farms placed closer to the power consumers. This will require more capabilities than the power sources we have today. Power will have to be high quality, steady and unbreakable as well as safe, zero-carbon, and capable of being placed in small remote areas.
Bourne Energy recently field tested one of its smaller units designed to power the IoT. The power technology is based on hydropower which already claims the highest energy density, capacity factor and lowest cost of all current renewable energies. Bourne’s system does not require a dam or reservoir. It is a one-piece, self-contained unit that is simply placed in moving water to produce power. Weighing only 30 lbs the unit displaces only one cubic meter. During the field test the unit was placed in a shallow river (2.2 m/s current) where it produced a steady 600W (DC) or over 14kW per day at an estimated operating cost of 5-7 cents/kWh which is very competitive with solar and wind. This unit is highly adaptable to each site and can be easily upgraded to a higher output system.
Bourne’s power unit has the right mix of portability and energy density to provide remote, zero-fuel power for key elements of the Internet of Things including sensor and wireless networks, high density and secure power for data storage for the cloud, and cheap, clean baseline power for microgrids. Overall, this secure, clean and low cost power system will speed the implementation of the Internet of Things into our homes, businesses and governments worldwide.