Microchip technology offers battery lifetime solution

By November 4, 2019Nuclear

Electronics experts Sensor Driven have devised unique technology that considerably extends the life of battery powered sensors – a technology that could hold enormous potential for Sellafield which needs to track the behaviour of stored nuclear waste for up to 100 years.

The same technology delivers benefits across a wide range of industries. Example applications include detecting whether parcels or boxes have been dropped, or whether industrial equipment has overheated or leaked.

Through the Game Changers programme, Sensor Driven, a small company commercialising technology originating from the University of Bristol, has received Sellafield funding to demonstrate how the technology could be useful in nuclear waste stores.

Traditional sensors constantly use battery power, regularly sleeping, waking and measuring when often there is nothing of interest to measure. This typically limits battery lifetime to a few years. Sensor Driven has produced microchips that can extend battery lifetime to decades using the energy from a sensor signal to wake up the measuring electronics and take a reading.

This pioneering technology ensures battery energy is only used when an event of interest occurs. It can be used to monitor important information relating to movement, moisture, temperature, noise and more.

This considerably extended sensor/battery lifetime may have significant potential for Sellafield in a range of applications across the site.