A Self-Powering Wireless Environment Monitoring System Using Soil Energy

Fu To Lin, Yu Chun Kuo, Jen Chien Hsieh, Hsi Yuan Tsai, Yu-Te Liao, Huang Chen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This paper presents a self-powering wireless environment monitoring system using renewable and cost-efficient soil energy. The D-size (55.8 cm3) soil energy cell with carbon and zinc electrodes can produce ∼60-100 μW, depending on the water contents and microbial reactions in the soil. The RC circuit model of a soil cell is proposed for understanding the electrical characteristics of the cell. The wireless sensing system, including temperature and air moisture sensors, a custom low-power capacitive sensor readout silicon chip, a microcontroller, and a Bluetooth low-energy transmitter, is demonstrated for long-term environmental monitoring solely by the fabricated D-size soil cell. The capacitive sensor readout chip is fabricated in a 0.18-μm CMOS process and only consumes 3 μW. The capacitance readout range is 160-200 pF. The total power consumption of the wireless temperature and air moisture monitoring system is ∼20 μW and 1 mW in the sleep mode and the active wireless data communication operations, respectively. The new technology can enable remote field environment monitoring with less labor-intensive work and battery replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7029621
Pages (from-to)3751-3758
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • humidity sensor
  • integrated circuit
  • renewable energy
  • Soil energy
  • temperature sensor
  • wireless sensor

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