Researchers at Osaka University have developed a cost-effective technology to produce a flexible material that converts heat into electricity. It can potentially be used in portable wearable or implantable electronic devices..
Japanese scientists have unveiled a Large Scale Thermoelectric Generator (FlexTEG) module suitable for converting energy on curved surfaces. It consists of high-performance p- and n-type bismuth-telluride chips on a flexible thin plastic substrate. A unique isotropic design was used to mount small microcircuits, which made it possible to place 50×50 mm 250 p-n pairs.
The module has a maximum output power density of 158 mW / cm2 at dТ = 105 K, which corresponds to an efficiency value of 1.84%. Parallel alignment of electrodes reduces mechanical stress on individual thermoelectric semiconductor chips, and good adhesion between surface and contacts ensures stable operation when bent.
Although the performance of the FlexTEG is still low and does not meet the required energy harvesting requirements, it is one of the most attractive low-temperature options (up to 150 °C) transformation. According to the developers, standard methods for installing semiconductors are used in its creation, which allows for mass production and significantly reduces the cost..
Recently, flexible thermoelectric generator modules using organic or thin-film materials are attracting more and more attention due to the prospects for their application in wireless sensors and wearable devices..
Earlier we also wrote that in Cambridge batteries will be replaced with molten salt tanks.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Osaka University
Thermodynamics – Converting Heat Energy Into Electricity Using a Thermoelectric Generator