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“Power from Every Drop” – ABLIC’s CLEAN-Boost® Unlocks Sensing Capabilities


ABLIC Inc., a Japanese analog semiconductor specialist, is at the forefront of innovating battery-less sensors that harness previously untapped environmental energy. The company’s groundbreaking CLEAN-Boost® technology is redefining the possibilities for energy-efficient wireless sensing solutions.


The CLEAN-Boost® Technology

ABLIC’s CLEAN-Boost® technology represents a significant leap forward in energy utilization, by capturing and enhancing microwatt-level environmental energy that was once considered too minor to harness. What makes CLEAN-Boost® exceptionally innovative is its energy storage and boosting component, designed for ultra-low power consumption. With a boost circuit that operates on a low 0.35V, the technology ensures the optimal use of 1μW level power. Additionally, it incorporates a sophisticated low-power data transmission method that optimizes the timing between power generation and signal transmission, further enhancing its efficiency.


The microwatt-level energy used by CLEAN-Boost® technology

Roots in Innovation

ABLIC was originally the semiconductor division of Seiko Instruments, became independent and started its operation as SII Semiconductor Corporation in 2016, and then rebranded and began anew as 'ABLIC' in 2018. The origins of CLEAN-Boost® Technology trace back to the "Thermic" Thermoelectric watch released by SEIKO in 1998 powered by the temperature differential between the wearer's body and the surrounding air. ABLIC evolved this concept by developing integrated circuits (ICs) capable of amplifying minimal electrical output from thermoelectric power. This endeavor eventually led to the creation of advanced energy storage and boosting circuits, developed in collaboration with Ritsumeikan University.

This collaboration was recognized for its potential to achieve perpetual power supply solutions, receiving the "Best Paper Award" at the IEEE S3S Conference in October 2019, a testament to the innovative impact of CLEAN-Boost® technology.

Empowering Real-World Applications

A prime example of this technology in the market is “the Battery-less Water Leak Sensor”. This ingenious device can detect even the smallest drop of water leakage, which helps minimize damage through early detection. Additionally, the device can be powered and transmit warnings wirelessly using minimal energy, eliminating the need for an external power sources or complex wiring. This makes it an ideal solution for retrofitting existing structures without the inconvenience of extensive installation and maintenance.

One use case involves the major Japanese telecommunications carrier NTT EAST, which adopted “Battery-less Water Leak Sensors” to address the challenges of monitoring natural disasters at unmanned communication facilities. By installing ABLIC‘s “Battery-less Water Leak Sensor” for remote site monitoring, maintenance workers no longer need to conduct patrols in bad weather, thereby increasing the safety and efficiency of their monitoring operations.

Left) Unmanned communication facilities of NTT EAST,          Right) Battery-less Water Leak Sensor

Demonstrating its versatility across different environments, CLEAN-Boost® powers a range of other applications beyond leak detection, including moisture-powered sensors and bioelectric soil sensors. Research regarding microbial electricity generation, enzyme-based power generation, and bio electrochemical reactions continues to underscore the wide applicability of this technology. By converting biological processes into electrical energy, CLEAN-Boost® is pursuing new possibilities in sustainable power generation, including the utilization of substances like lactate, fructose, and alcohol.

Exploring the Frontier of Microwatt-level Energy

Currently, the aforementioned products are exclusive to the Japanese market. However, ABLIC is committed to globally expanding the reach of its CLEAN-Boost® Technology in the near future. The company is actively seeking international partnerships to explore new applications and markets, underlining its corporate mission to transform seemingly impossible challenges into viable, innovative solutions.

Through relentless innovation, ABLIC is not just creating technology for today but is paving the way for a more sustainable and energy-efficient future, demonstrating the practical and transformative potential of harnessing the smallest amounts of environmental energy.


Masae Onuma

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