Thermoelectric Generators (TEG)

A Thermoelectric generator, or TEG  is a solid state device that converts heat (temperature differences) directly into electrical energy through a phenomenon called the Seebeck effect (a form of thermoelectric effect). Thermoelectric generators function like heat engines, but are less bulky and have no moving parts. However, TEGs are typically more expensive and less efficient.

Thermoelectric generators could be used in power plants in order to convert waste heat into additional electrical power and in automobiles as automotive thermoelectric generators (ATGs) to increase fuel efficiency. Another application is radioisotope thermoelectric generators which are used in space probes, which has the same mechanism but use radioisotopes to generate the required heat difference.

  • Electricity from waste heat made possible by ceramics

    Where conventional materials reach their limits, ceramics can display their excellent properties. Functional ceramics – so-called thermoelectric materials – can convert waste heat directly into electricity, for example, in high-temperature processes. At the Hannover Messe 2016, Europe's largest ceramics research institute presents for the first time a system that demonstrates the reliable functionality of thermoelectric ceramic modules developed at Fraunhofer IKTS. (Hall 6, Booth B16)

  • More Efficient Energy Harvesting With Magnets

    Thermomagnetic generator on a laboratory scale. Photo: IFW Dresden

    Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW) have developed a new magnetic generator to convert waste heat into electricity. A clever arrangement of the components has succeeded in improving the electrical yield by orders of magnitude. Thus thermomagnetic generators qualify for application-suitable technology for the energy harvesting of from waste heat. Many processes in everyday life and in industry generate waste heat that is not hot enough to be used effectively. As a rule, it is discharged into the environment unused, for example, in the case of large IT servers or at the exit of power plant cooling towers. To date, there are very few technologies available for the conversion of low temperature waste heat into electricity. 

  • THD präsentiert Forschungsergebnisse in der Nanotechnologie

    Ulrike Scharf, Staatsministerin für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz (Mitte) und Prof. Dr. Günther Benstetter, Projektleitung THD (2. v. r.) mit dem Projektteam der THD. Bayr. StM f. Umwelt u. Verbraucherschutz

    Die Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (THD) ist seit drei Jahren Teil des Projektverbunds „Umweltverträgliche Anwendungen der Nanotechnologie (UMWELTnanoTECH)“. Die THD bildete eine Forschungsgruppe mit dem Walter Schottky Institut an der TU München und der Technischen Hochschule Nürnberg Georg-Simon-Ohm. Gemeinsam arbeiteten die Wissenschaftler am Schwerpunkt Thermoelektrizität. Am vergangenen Mittwoch präsentierten sie die Ergebnisse ihrer Arbeit beim Kongress „Next Generation Solar Energy Meets Nanotechnology“ in Erlangen vor einem internationalen Publikum.

  • Thermoelectric Cooling Gets Fit for Micro Technology

    Array of micro-thermoelectric devices with a packing density of about 5,000 pieces per square centimeter. The free-standing design reduces thermo-mechanical stress. Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung

    Scientists at Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW) have significantly improved the processing of thermoelectric devices so that they become quicker, more reliably and suitable for integration in microchips. This represents a decisive step towards the broad application of thermoelectric components in micro technology. Thermoelectric materials can convert heat into electricity or, vice versa, can be used as environmentally friendly cooling elements. In many processes in everyday life and in industry, energy losses occur in form of waste heat, which can be converted by thermoelectric generators into electrical energy. This also provides an additional power source in these systems.