Microwave Marketing work in a number of energy markets including Oil and Gas, utility monitoring, Smart Metering, Pipe line, ‘Down Hole’, Satcom, Smart Grid and many others.
Radio Networks are supporting Smart Grid deployments around the world. This includes a variety of operational and energy applications including smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency improvements.
Smart meters work with a smart energy monitor, which will link via wireless to allow the user to directly monitor usage in real time.
Supporting advances in network monitoring and IoT, companies such as SigFox have been established. Sigfox builds wireless networks to connect low-energy objects such as electricity meters, smart watches, and washing machines. These devices need to be continuously on and emitting small amounts of data. This technology is primarily aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT).
Sigfox devices cannot carry heavy amounts of data, being able to handle approximately 12 bytes per message, and at the same time no more than 140 messages per device per day. However, this enables the transmission of simple messages. This is due to the fact that with 12 bytes one can represent any number between 1 and 79 octillion, which translates to a myriad of control codes. These can be used for a variety of applications such as geolocation and tracking, monitoring a public defibrillator station to know when someone uses it or parking space monitoring and billing. Sigfox devices can work up to 20 years off two AA batteries, due to the fact it “wakes up” whenever it sends or receives a message, and then it goes back to sleep.
As of January 2016, Sigfox had coverage for 92% of France’s population, 94% of Spain’s, and “similar numbers” for the Netherlands. 2016 will see the expansion of coverage towards the Middle-East, Asia and Africa. In the UK a network is now established by Arqiva to promote the use and grow applications.
Heating is also an emerging use of Microwave technology with Ignition systems for vehicles, Industrial Lighting, Medical imaging and power sources for Microwave ovens. Solid state devices are starting to be offered as an alternative to Magnetron tubes for energy generation. Solid-state RF energy offers benefits of low-voltage supply, semiconductor-type reliability & smaller form factor. Perhaps its most compelling attributes are fast frequency, phase and power-agility complemented by hyper-precision. The technology attributes lend themselves to improvements in process control range, even energy distribution, and fast adaption to changing load conditions. GaN technology is now becoming more widespread in its adoption and moving to 6” wafers etc is moving the prices down to levels approaching those of LDMOS. This is making the use of GaN as a magnetron replacement a reality, meeting both the commercial and technical challenges with 70% efficiency at 2.45GHz. GaN based microwave oven lifetimes should improve 10X from current magnetron models.