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'[EE] Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect'
2004\12\30@074440 by Russell McMahon

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Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect device

       http://www.robotics.com/robomenu/generator.html

5 watts output from a candle or spirit burner.
I suspect the efficiency is very very low BUT that's a serious amount
of output power, and there may be applications where this is useful. I
imagine that cooling the cold side well would be the major challenge.

As a comparison, a 2000 mAH NimH AA cell has about 2 watt-hour
capacity or 8 watt hours for a pack of 4. This TEG would about equal
the capacity of such a battery pack when run for an hour or two and
could be used to charge batteries. Being able to charge a camera
battery by burning a candle or equivalent for 2 hours may well be
attractive in some circumstances. Laptop batteries have rather larger
capacity but a device that could run a laptop directly could be
achieved with multiple Peltier devices. A really hot idea!

In situations where the waste heat was also useful (mini cogen system)
it could be very much so. It would be interesting to compare fuel mass
requirements with those for eg fuel cells.


       RM

2004\12\30@093728 by Dave VanHorn

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At 07:39 AM 12/30/2004, Russell McMahon wrote:

>Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect device
>
>        http://www.robotics.com/robomenu/generator.html
>
>5 watts output from a candle or spirit burner.
>I suspect the efficiency is very very low BUT that's a serious amount of
>output power, and there may be applications where this is useful. I
>imagine that cooling the cold side well would be the major challenge.

And keeping the device from frying. They don't like much heat.

Ovonics made devices like this years ago for campers, but they were bulky
(about 0.5 cu ft) and heavy.  Still, 12V at 300mA off a large candle isn't bad.

They used a fan, powered from the output, to cool the cold side.

2004\12\30@095617 by Mike Hord

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Why not add a heatsink to the hot side, too?  I wonder how much
energy one would gain by increasing the surface area exposed to
the heat source...

...or it could make matters worse I suppose.  I think it may bear
experimentation.

Hmmm...BG Micro has a Peltier with heatsinks on both sides,
for $19.95.  50 Watts, too!

Mike H.

2004\12\30@100014 by Russell McMahon

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>>Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect device
>>
>>        www.robotics.com/robomenu/generator.html
>>
>>5 watts output from a candle or spirit burner.
>>I suspect the efficiency is very very low BUT that's a serious
>>amount of output power, and there may be applications where this is
>>useful. I imagine that cooling the cold side well would be the major
>>challenge.
>
> And keeping the device from frying. They don't like much heat.
>
> Ovonics made devices like this years ago for campers, but they were
> bulky (about 0.5 cu ft) and heavy.  Still, 12V at 300mA off a large
> candle isn't bad.

Any idea of

1- Thermal to electric efficiency?

2 - Power out as a TEG compared to max power in in Peltier mode?


       RM



2004\12\30@102058 by Dave VanHorn
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>1- Thermal to electric efficiency?

Nope.

>2 - Power out as a TEG compared to max power in in Peltier mode?

I remember that the peltier devices were very low voltage. I think there
were eight of them or maybe 10, in each unit, all in series.

2004\12\30@111118 by Russell McMahon

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>>2 - Power out as a TEG compared to max power in in Peltier mode?
>
> I remember that the peltier devices were very low voltage. I think
> there were eight of them or maybe 10, in each unit, all in series.

Interestingly, the link I cited quotes 5v at 1A. Probably a 12v or
thereabouts Peltier. He didn't say. I'm going to have to play :-)


       RM

2004\12\31@065359 by Morgan Olsson

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Russell McMahon 13:39 2004-12-30:
>Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect device
>
>       http://www.robotics.com/robomenu/generator.html

I read Russian army powered radio (recievers?) from peltier during WW1 (or was it WW2)

Deep space satellites (at least Pioneer) use simple solid state nuclear heated peltier devices for power.

Some years ago I built a system ona polsating combustion furnace, that was completely powered from heat transfer from top of tank 90°C to radiator return 40°C.  This supplied continous radiator curculating pump 0,7W high efficiency (bulit by me too), charging of accumulator for start system.  (While running pulsating combustion burner suck in fuel and air by itself)

I have a bunch of peltier bricks for sale if someoe would want it in Sweden.  Size 40x40x4mm internally, 144 pair in series max internal temp 90°C i think.

>In situations where the waste heat was also useful (mini cogen system) it could be very much so. It would be interesting to compare fuel mass requirements with those for eg fuel cells.

IIRC efficiency is below 5% typically 2%?  Newer types was being developed last i checked some years ago, for higher eficciency through higher temperature.
But if you can use then low temperature heat from th ecold side you do not loose anytning.

/Morgan
--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

2004\12\31@182609 by Russell McMahon

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>>Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect device
>>
>>       http://www.robotics.com/robomenu/generator.html
>
> I read Russian army powered radio (recievers?) from peltier during
> WW1 (or was it WW2)

I have seen a Russian unit made to go over a candle.
AFAIR it had many wire junctions with hot end in and cold end out with
large radiator fins.

The above Peltier unit looks like it would use a "tea light" type
candle.

I tested a tea light. Wax weighs 16 grams.
Burns for about 5 hours (to my surprise).
At say 10 kWh/kg that's about 30 watts available energy at 100%.
It seems most unlikely that this would provide 5 watts fro a Peltier
TEG.
I don't know what sort of energy one can get from a spirit lamp.

I can see that  some Peltier tests are in order :-)


       RM


'[EE] Thermoelectric generator using Peltier effect'
2005\01\05@083532 by Alan B. Pearce
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>Deep space satellites (at least Pioneer) use simple solid

>state nuclear heated peltier devices for power.



any satellites that go beyond earths orbit from the sun use some form of
nuclear powered power source, as the output from solar cells is just too
low. About the only items that do not have nuclear power sources are the
Mars Rover vehicles, which do have solar cells, but are also in a position
where they can be left in a very low power mode for lengthy periods of time
to recharge the batteries. Any orbiting spacecraft tends to be powered on
all the time, so does not get the recharge periods, as the scientists back
on earth don't want to miss any data scans of planet surfaces, as it may be
quite some time before the orbit goes over that spot again, and then it may
be "on the dark side" away from the sun.

2005\01\05@084015 by Alan B. Pearce

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>AFAIR it had many wire junctions with hot end in and
>cold end out with large radiator fins.

Electronics Australia (under one of it's earlier names that I now cannot
remember) had a reader submission where he powered one of those 9V pocket
transistor radios with a thermopile on a kerosene lantern. Had a little bit
of info in the article about the best wire types to use. Anyone wanting to
try and look in a library will need to be going back into issues from the
1960's, possibly late 50's.

2005\01\05@085006 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

Some good theory on using TECs as TEGs here:

http://www.ferrotec.com/usa/thermoelectric/ref/3ref13.htm

Regards

Mike

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2005\01\06@135909 by Peter L. Peres

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On Wed, 5 Jan 2005, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>> AFAIR it had many wire junctions with hot end in and
>> cold end out with large radiator fins.
>
> Electronics Australia (under one of it's earlier names that I now cannot
> remember) had a reader submission where he powered one of those 9V pocket
> transistor radios with a thermopile on a kerosene lantern. Had a little bit
> of info in the article about the best wire types to use. Anyone wanting to
> try and look in a library will need to be going back into issues from the
> 1960's, possibly late 50's.

I wonder if the thermocouple stack used in some gas powered water
heaters could be used for this. According to Bill & Pookie he (they?)
has (have) a water heater that has the thermostat powered by such a
device. This suggests it makes at least a volt (am I right ?). Thus such
a device could be bought as a spare part and a dc/dc converter powered
from it. Has anyone got one of those things as a spare and is willing to
test the open circuit voltage and Rdc on it ? I have looked them up and
they are pricey to buy, especially if they do not work as hoped.

Peter

2005\01\06@142857 by Martin K

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Peter L. Peres wrote:

{Quote hidden}

You can buy all sorts of peltier devices commercially, in whatever shape
you want. Is this what you're referring to? No need to find a special
water-heater part.
http://tedist.com/

--
Martin K
http://wwia.org/sgroup/biofuel/

2005\01\06@180447 by Mike Hord

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> >Deep space satellites (at least Pioneer) use simple solid
> >state nuclear heated peltier devices for power.
>
>
> any satellites that go beyond earths orbit from the sun use some form of
> nuclear powered power source, as the output from solar cells is just too
> low. About the only items that do not have nuclear power sources are the
> Mars Rover vehicles, which do have solar cells, but are also in a position
> where they can be left in a very low power mode for lengthy periods of time
> to recharge the batteries. Any orbiting spacecraft tends to be powered on
> all the time, so does not get the recharge periods, as the scientists back
> on earth don't want to miss any data scans of planet surfaces, as it may be
> quite some time before the orbit goes over that spot again, and then it may
> be "on the dark side" away from the sun.

Bit of an oversimplification, that.  For example, Mars Climate Orbiter and
Global Surveyor both had solar panels, as did the Viking orbiter.  I'm not
sure if they used backup radioisotope thermoelectric generators or not, but
I'm thinking not because there wasn't the big hullabaloo one usually hears
with the launch of an RTG equipped spacecraft.

NASA had some superb documentation on the usage of RTGs in deep
space probes, with specific emphasis on the Cassini-Huygens mission.
One of the more illuminating diagrams features a to-scale representation
of the size of solar panels required to do anything useful at Earth orbit,
Mars orbit, Jupiter orbit and Saturn orbit.

Why Cassini couldn't use solar power...
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/safety/solar.pdf

Cassini's RTG systems...
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/safety/power.pdf

General info on RTG systems...
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/safety/rhu.pdf

All in all, a pretty useful exploration of nuclear decay harnessed as
a fairly safe energy source.

Mike H.

2005\01\06@183322 by Peter L. Peres

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> Peter L. Peres wrote:
>
>>
>> I wonder if the thermocouple stack used in some gas powered water heaters
>> could be used for this. According to Bill & Pookie he (they?) has (have) a
>> water heater that has the thermostat powered by such a device. This
>> suggests it makes at least a volt (am I right ?). Thus such a device could
>> be bought as a spare part and a dc/dc converter powered from it. Has
>> anyone got one of those things as a spare and is willing to test the open
>> circuit voltage and Rdc on it ? I have looked them up and they are pricey
>> to buy, especially if they do not work as hoped.
>>
>> Peter
>
> You can buy all sorts of peltier devices commercially, in whatever shape you
> want. Is this what you're referring to? No need to find a special
> water-heater part.
> http://tedist.com/

The part I was referring to is specifically designed to operate in
direct contact with an extremely hot gas flame. What I had in mind was
something like this:

<http://europe.hbc.honeywell.com/downloads_img/THERMOCOUPLE.JPG>

but with higher output voltage (up to a volt - they exist but they are
rare). Here are some people who appear to be doing what I proposed (but
for a different purpose):

<http://www.yet2.com/app/utility/external/indexabstract/5342>

Basically you have a few thermocouples in series which make, say, 200mV
(four thermocouples in series at 1200C tip temperature make about that
much), and a low loss low power dc/dc converter that turns this into 3V
or 5V to run a microcontroller with. Maybe Bill can say what make his
furnace is.

Peter


2005\01\06@190915 by Peter L. Peres

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Ok, I found the exact part I was referring to:

<http://www.reverberray.com/partscenter/product_info.php/part_no/q313a-1014>

made by Honeywell, makes 750mV at a moderate temperature drop. This and
a dc/dc converter meant for single cell operation should get the show
started. This is the device pictured at the bottom of the previously
sent link:

<http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/POWER/thermoelectric/thermoelectric.htm>

and that is where the claim is made as to the voltage output (under what
load ?). Assuming the Ri is 0.5 ohms at operating temperature (I wish)
one could get almost 300mW from it, which is certainly enough to run a
microprocessor once stepped up, including losses. It costs about $20-35
depending on where you buy it (according to the web).

Peter



2005\01\06@200749 by Mark Jordan

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On 7 Jan 2005 at 2:09, Peter L. Peres wrote:

{Quote hidden}

       They sell for less than $5 on eBay.

       Mark Jordan


2005\01\06@211728 by p.cousens

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In the uk a universal (boiler) thermocouple cost in ones around £3 to £7
(I pay £3)
It's resistance must be very low as it's a just a welded junction I have a couple in my van, it's too late (2 AM) now, but I will check it
tomorrow eve after work

I think the voltage is only in 10's of millivolts though

 PC

> {Original Message removed}

2005\01\07@190728 by p.cousens

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40 millivolts @ 3.5 milliamps glowing cherry red
Through a standard cheap multimeter measuring current with standard
leads

Due to lead resistance there could probably be a lot more current output

  PC


> {Original Message removed}

2005\01\07@222449 by Dwayne Reid

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At 05:19 PM 1/7/2005, p.cousens wrote:
>40 millivolts @ 3.5 milliamps glowing cherry red
>Through a standard cheap multimeter measuring current with standard
>leads
>
>Due to lead resistance there could probably be a lot more current output

Yeah - way, way more!  I've helped set up the measurement and data logging
for one of our clients who were looking at making changes to the
thermocouples used in their heaters.  I used a Tek P6042 DC clip-on ammeter
and saw currents of at least 500 mA with 35 mV across the safety solenoid.

Using a current shunt didn't work because the internal resistance of the
shunt was substantially larger than the source and load
resistances.  Making sure that I didn't introduce any extra resistance was
a minor challenge.

dwayne

--
Dwayne Reid   <dwaynerspamKILLspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
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2005\01\08@123436 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 7 Jan 2005, p.cousens wrote:

> In the uk a universal (boiler) thermocouple cost in ones around 3 to 7
> (I pay 3)
> It's resistance must be very low as it's a just a welded junction
> I have a couple in my van, it's too late (2 AM) now, but I will check it
> tomorrow eve after work
>
> I think the voltage is only in 10's of millivolts though

You are right about the single junction voltage, however, the device I have in mind specifically uses *several* junctions in the same case (perhaps a dozen or so), and likely made of semiconductors which have higher output than a metal/metal junction. This is what makes it more expensive. All the places I found that mention this higher voltage type device on the web note that it is expensive. So it appears to be *different* from the ones you (and I) have.

Peter

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2005\01\10@032110 by Peter L. Peres

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On Sat, 8 Jan 2005, p.cousens wrote:

> 40 millivolts @ 3.5 milliamps glowing cherry red
> Through a standard cheap multimeter measuring current with standard
> leads
>
> Due to lead resistance there could probably be a lot more current output

That is already something that can be worked with. 10 in series can
operate a low Rdson powered upconverter (with bias oscillator running
from 3V or more rechargeable battery which was previously charged).

Peter

2005\01\10@032113 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 7 Jan 2005, Dwayne Reid wrote:

{Quote hidden}

This is one of those situations where a Hall current probe would be
great.

Still, the Honeywell probe gives much higher voltage (20 x more).

Peter

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