Print  |  Send  |   

Large-area flexible printed thermoelectrics harvest energy from waste heat

March 29, 2013 // Julien Happich

Large-area flexible printed thermoelectrics harvest energy from waste heat

Large power stations only rarely manage to convert more than 40 percent of the produced energy into electrical power. The rest is released unused, mainly via the cooling towers, into the atmosphere.

Page 1 of 2

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden, have been working on using the potential lying dormant in the over 150m high concrete giants. The idea is to use thermoelectric devices fitted inside cooling towers, where there can be very large differences between the hot steam and cooler concrete skin under some circumstances.

Dr. Aljoscha Roch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden explains: Thermoelectric generators (TEG) currently have an efficiency of around eight percent. That sounds very small. But if we succeed in producing TEG cost-effectively, on a large scale and from flexible materials we can install them extensively on the insides of the concave cooling tower wall. In this way, through the enormous amount of energy produced in the huge plants, we could generate large quantities of electricity.

Together with his colleagues at the IWS, Roch has now taken a big step closer to this goal. The scientists have succeeded in producing TEG by means of a printing process. The miniaturized generators can not only be produced cost-effectively, on large surfaces and in a flexibly manageable manner, but an additional major advantage is that the materials used are environmentally-friendly. TEG are today largely produced by hand from toxic components which contain lead for example. We are now using modern 3D printing technology and harmless polymers (plastics) that are electrically conductive, explains Roch.

1 | 2 | Next page

All news

Energy Harvesting

Follow us

Fast, Accurate & Relevant for Design Engineers only!

Technical papers     

Linear video channel


Read more

This month, FTDI Chip is giving away six MCU development board packages complete with a dedicated compiler (including a full integrated development environment).

Worth Euro 315 each, the packages include a credit card sized Clicker 2 board for the FT90X 32-bit MCU supplied alongside a powerful dedicated compiler from MikroElektronika.


Design centers     

Infotainment Making HDTV in the car reliable and secure

December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974

Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.


You must be logged in to view this page

Login here :