Posted by Jeff Id on September 26, 2010
Catching heat is the purpose of every internal combustion engine ever developed. Anywhere you see a hear gradient (difference in temp) between two objects, there is energy flow available and energy to be captured. Think of it as a pre-charged battery. Warm ocean surface water vs cold subsurface, hot engine vs cold air etc. The problem is that small differences in temperature are hard to work with.
I received a link today from a reader I won’t name without permission, he linked to an article on what seems to be a breakthrough in thermoelectric generation.
The claim is:
“We anticipate the thermoelectric voltage using our design to be about 100 times larger than what others have achieved in the lab,” Stafford added.
Now thermoelectric completely stinks as a generator these days but a 100 times improvement is pretty substantial to say the least. I’m not enough of an expert on the cutting edge but if you want to even get 10 milliamps at 3 volts out of a $50 pieltier effect device, you had better have a hundred degrees of temp difference. I’m sure many people who read that will have corrections and additions, but that has been my experience.
Again, I’m not enough of an expert to validate any claims or even judge their significance, but it does sound interesting for at least one application I can think of.