Energy Storage Options for Environment Monitoring Wireless Sensor Networks in Rural Africa
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This paper explores various traditional and emerging battery technologies available for deployments of automated environment monitoring devices using Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) in Africa and the considerations designers must take into account when implementing these systems. Environment-monitoring applications of WSNs are focusing more on reducing power consumption and optimizing data transmission and less on the constraints that their applications and deployment environments put on the energy storage device. We describe the various properties of energy storage devices and, for each, we highlight the requirements to be met for environment monitoring applications, especially in remote areas in Africa. We evaluate the performance of some of these energy storage options against the requirements using three use cases. We indicate the technologies that have shown reliability for each use case. We show that emerging battery technologies, such as Lithium Ion Capacitors are well suited for long-life low power deployments while the options for high-power deployments depend on the constraints faced by the designers, such as the power consumption of the sensor network components sand environment temperature range of the deployment environment.