Thermoelectric generators are used to recover waste heat from industrial applications, automobiles, and even body heat of human beings. While recovering heat from vehicles and industries, the amount of power generated can range between 50 watts to a few hundred watts. Though not very high the electricity from the recovered heat can be used to power small electronic devices in the car or in domestic applications. Materials used to manufacture thermocouples include skutterdite, lead telluride, and half hueslers. For generating electrical power in terms of milli and microwatts, the main inorganic material used is bismuth telluride. The modules based on bismuth tellluride are brittle and can recover heat even at room temperatures. Modules that are flexible and capable of generating power from small temperature differences are being considered for applications such as wearable devices and sensors. Organic Conductive polymers enable manufacturing these flexible modules in a cost-effective manner.
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The Energy and Environment cluster provides global insights and intelligence on a wide variety of disruptive emerging technologies and platforms ranging from energy storage, advanced batteries, solar and wind energy, to unconventional oil, bioenergy, geothermal energy, and energy transmission.
Keywords: Thermoelectric generators, waste heat recovery, energy harvesting, organic polymers, bismuth telluride, TEG modules, wearable, flexible