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Author Topic: Thermoelectric Power Generation  (Read 1455 times)

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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Thermoelectric Power Generation
« on: November 26, 2016, 09:32:21 PM »
Do any of you guys out there ever use the thermoelectric power generating tiles. I've see small backpacking stoves that use them to charge phones and well anything that you can charge from a usb port. I didn't know if anyone has put them around wood stoves or owb's to convert wasted heat into electricity.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 12:21:38 PM »
I've never used them, but my understanding is they are rather low power and inefficient. They may make sense in a specialty situation (such as using a backpacking stove to recharge your cell phone), but it's tough to get significant quantities of electricity from them.  My information may be well out of date however... it's been a while since I've looked in to them.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 10:43:56 AM »
There are companies that sell thermoelectric generators that attach to wood stoves
but they are expensive.  I think the bigger ones which are 100 watt are around $1000 and the smallest are 10 watts are around $400.  I think those are the prices for just the generators.  You would probably need to add a cooling system, a battery and maybe a charge controller. 

Just the generators alone cost $10-$40 per watt.

In comparison you can buy solar for $1-$3 per watt. You can buy a complete 100 watt solar system ,not including a battery for less than $200.

Both systems have a use in locations away from grid power but in most cases solar will be cheaper and produce more power than thermometric.

Offline 21incher

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 04:57:16 PM »
As stated before it is expensive for the amount of power generated. The higher the temperature differential between the hot and cold side the more power you will generate. It also takes big flat heatsinks and fans to avoid damaging them. I used to work for a company that used them for precise temperature control ( .001 deg ) and they are great for that. We were able to chill a human patient to the shiver point with a catheter during open heart surgery to prevent damage that is caused after surgery from warm blood absorbing excess oxygen and then slowly raise the body temp back to normal all self contained in a small roll around cart. :)   
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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 06:44:42 PM »
I live in the woods, can't even get Sirius radio at my house, unless I cut down trees. For me solar power is out of the question, if I had a cabin in the woods on a mountain somewhere I'd have to consider all my options. Solar is cheap, but doesn't work or work well at night, snow, fog, rain or during  heavy cloud cover. "Free power" is free power from sun or heat....but it is an alternative renewable energy source.
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Offline williaty

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 12:40:06 AM »
In addition to what others have said about high cost for minimal power, you also have to look at the specs. Many of the units only meet their rated power at 850F hot side. Two things about that: 1) How long can you stay comfortable keeping the outside of your wood stove at 850F (and for that matter, how much wood and stoking would that take!?) 2) that's a gnat's ass away from melting down the TEG itself. One hiccup and you have an expensive paperweight.

Offline maple flats

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Re: Thermoelectric Power Generation
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 07:13:27 PM »
That is possibly what I have. I bought 2 fans that set on the woodstove. As the stove heats up, the fans setting on it heat the bases, as the heat then moves upward, at the top of that base there is a section maybe just over 1/4" thick with 2 wires connected, one on each end of the 1/4" piece. Then attached on top is a cooling fin arrangement. In the center of those is a small electric motor and the heat from the base generates power as it flows across the 1/4" thick piece and then cools in the fins. This flow turns a small fan blade attached to the shaft of the motor. The hotter the stove gets, the faster the fan spins. I use them to assist in heat distribution in the room, but they don't really move very much air even at full speed, but it helps. The fan is like a single prop (airplane) maybe 8" long.
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