Cost efficient Thermoelectric (TE) Energy Harvester or “Thermal Battery”
Thermoelectrics (TE): Converts waste heat to electricity. Efficiency depends on “figure of merit”, ZT and temperature differential, DT between hot and cold sides.
- A thermal harvester or “Thermal Battery” that is at least 25% efficient and 10x less expensive than current products, to convert waste heat to useful energy (electricity).
- Power up the vast ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) from the ambient waste heat without any maintenance or environmental pollution.
By 2025, a few trillions of sensors, mounted on everyday objects, will wirelessly connect to create the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). To ensure maintenance free operations, it is desirable for these sensors to be self-powered.
Power management of this vast ‘Internet of Things’ will be unsustainable, since battery changing cost increases with network size, particularly for remote or hazardous installations.
Energy harvesting technology is being considered as a core or supplementary power source in wireless sensor networks (WSN). A major requirement for the WSN/IoT market is the physical size of the power source, because the electronic hardware is also small.
- Large heatsink or water/air cooling is essential (adds cost and space). Heatsinks are typically ~10 times larger and heavier than the TE product itself.
- Focus on ZT value that depends on advanced materials properties
- Technology stalled for 6 decades because of low efficiency and high cost
- Patent protected unique geometry and device assembly
- Existing materials
- Out-of-the-box design exploits length-scale effects on materials and heat transfer properties.
- No extra cooling component, unlike existing products
- Maintains large temperature differential to provide 10 times more electric power for the same size.
- Higher efficiency without the need for heatsink or cooling system saves weight, space, and money.
Our prototype is ready for demonstration in Wireless Sensor Networks
The National Science Foundation (NSF): STTR Phase I Grant
The Pennsylvania State University
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of North Central Pennsylvania
Actively seeking industrial partners/investors for further development of the product