Food shop sensors become self-powered with light

11th March 2019
Alex Lynn

The solar cell company Epishine and TempOnline, a company offering digital temperature monitoring for grocery stores, have initiated a collaboration to remove batteries from sensors in retail stores. The sensors that monitor the temperature in coolers and freezers will, through this collaboration, be equipped with Epishine's light energy harvesting modules that generate their own electricity using indoor light.

There are thousands of grocery stores in Sweden where the temperatures of the coolers and freezers are checked manually every day. With TempOnline's solution, retailers are provided access to automated temperature monitoring through sensors on a subscription-based plan. The collaboration with Epishine means that these sensors will harvest their own energy from the light around the sensor using an integrated light energy harvesting module.

“Our thin and flexible light energy harvesting modules are optimised to maximise energy absorption from indoor light. This results in both cost and time savings, since the light energy harvesting modules do not need to be replaced the way batteries would,” explained Mattias Josephson, CEO of Epishine.

Jens Jensen, CEO of TempOnline, added: “With light energy harvesting modules, we now have a more sustainable and stronger offer, and we know that there is a great need for this in all businesses that handle food. Our solution means that they can eliminate one of the many to-dos of their everyday activities, that is, manual temperature measurements of coolers and freezers. Moreover, this solution is sustainable.”

Josephson continued: “There are many different areas where our light energy harvesting modules could be used, and this is an excellent example. We provide an option to batteries, since they lose performance in cold environments. With this joint solution, we will be able to help businesses control their equipment in a sustainable and safe manner.”

The first prototypes were installed in early March at ICA Nära Marcus, a grocery store in Väderstad, Sweden, taking us one step closer to commercialising our product.

Marcus Andersson, ICA grocery store retailer, commented: “To us this means savings in both time and resources. In addition, it is exciting to have access to an innovative and sustainable new technology helping us with the temperature measurements of freezers and coolers.”

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