Renesas Electronics America Names RL78 Green Energy Challenge Winners at DevCon 2012

Contest Celebrates Global Design Innovation for the Smart Society in 2013 and Beyond

22 Oct 2012

SANTA CLARA, Calif., October 22, 2012 - Renesas Electronics America, a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions today announced the winners of its RL78 Green Energy Challenge. The global contest, which took place between March 26, 2012 and August 31, 2012, was designed to spur embedded design creativity and innovation in the area of green energy. Participants from across 67 different countries around the world were invited to showcase their skills in developing green energy designs for applications like energy harvesting, metering, low power and control systems using Renesas’ RL78 microcontrollers and a robust software support environment provided by Renesas Electronics America and its Alliance Partners. Contest winners included:


  1. Electrostatic Cleaning Robot (Scott Potter) – Selected by Circuit Cellar and Elektor, this first place winner received the grand prize of $8000 and a trip to this year's Renesas DevCon, valued at approximately $2500. This project addressed the need for a reliable cleaning solution for Power Tower Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology with a solar powered electrostatic cleaning robot. The system, which is controlled by the RL78, uses high voltage AC electric fields to sweep dust and debris as the robot traverses the mirror surface.
  2. Cloud-Based Electrofusion Machine (Michael Hamilton) – Second place winner was awarded $5000 for his contribution. For this submission, an electrofusion machine for welding 1⁄2" to 2" polyethylene fittings was created for under $175 (compared the price of a commercial electrofusion machine, which is around $4,000.) The whole process is run by the RL78.
  3. GPS Reference Station: The Sun Chaser (Sjoerd Brandsma) – Third place winner received $3000 for his entry. This project created an efficient solar-based energy harvesting system that uses the Renesas RDKRL78G13 eval board running the Micrium uC/OS-III real-time kernel.


"With the growth in the number of connected embedded systems, Renesas Electronics is actively enabling our vision of a "Smart Society" where electronic systems are more intuitive and use less power," said Peter Carbone, vice president of marketing, Renesas Electronics America. "The 2012 Green Energy Challenge is one example of our commitment to fostering design innovation and promoting the adoption of ideas that fuel the Smart Society. The participants demonstrated enthusiasm for low power designs using our RL78/G12 and the provided RDK. We look forward to seeing the direction these contest ideas will take and the changes that the submissions can effect in our world."


"The Renesas RL78 Green Energy Challenge combined Renesas' high-function RL78 MCU's with Circuit Cellar and Elektor's international readership spurring a wave of low-power creativity that surged and culminated and August 31," explained Shannon Barraclough, associate publisher at Circuit Cellar. "From India to Brazil, the US to the Netherlands, engineers hailed from around the globe to compete for excellence in low-power, design optimization and earn a share of over $20,000 in prizes. A great turn out indeed and congratulations to the winners!"


RL78 Green Energy Challenge

The RL78 Green Energy Challenge was presented by Renesas Electronics in partnership with Circuit Cellar Magazine and Elektor Magazine. The design contest prizes are sponsored by Renesas Electronics along with partners Analog Devices, CMX Systems, Exosite, GainSpan Corp., IAR Systems, Micrium, NDK Crystals, Okaya Electric Industries Co. Ltd., and Total Phase, Inc. Judges selected the winning green energy designs based on a scoring of technical merit, design originality, usefulness, cost effectiveness, and documentation. Final judging and the winner selections will be announced during a special ceremony at the Renesas DevCon in October in Anaheim, Calif.


Details for all prizes can be found at:


About DevCon 2012

DevCon 2012 (October 22-25 in Orange County, California) is a four-day event encapsulating an environment of valuable technical information exchange, which will include personalized direct and interactive access to Renesas' technology experts and partners from around the world. This year, DevCon will highlight technologies that are enabling a Smart Society. There will be hundreds of hours of lectures and hands-on labs on an array of technologies and application topics as well as discussion forums. To register and obtain the latest Renesas DevCon details and activities, visit, follow @RenesasAmerica on Twitter or join the DevCon community on Facebook.


About Renesas Electronics America Inc.

Renesas Electronics America Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), the world's number one supplier of microcontrollers and a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions including microcontrollers, SoC solutions, and a broad range of analog and power devices. In the Americas, Renesas Electronics America markets and sells industrial-type active-matrix LCD modules from NEC LCD Technologies, Ltd., a global leader in innovative display technologies. More information about the products offered by Renesas Electronics America can be found at


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