Nanostructured Thin Film Harvests and converts Waste Heat into Electricity
Nextreme developed a miniature, thin film thermoelectric generator (TEG) that converts heat directly into electricity. Ideal for waste heat conversion applications, the solid state TEG delivers power generation densities (>3W/cm2) in excess of those achieved using bulk materials and is optimized to provide power in a form factor that can be as much as 20x thinner than bulk material alternatives, according to the company. Manufactured using semiconductor fabrication techniques, the TEG is scalable, cost-effective, and can be utilized in a broad range of markets and applications including automotive, military and aerospace, thermal batteries, medical implants and wireless sensor networks. Nextreme’s TEG has demonstrated output power levels of >100mW at DT of 70°K and >300mW at DT of 120°K. With modules measuring 3.5mm × 3.5mm, the TEG has corresponding output power densities of approximately 1 – 3W/cm2>. The devices generate electricity via the Seebeck Effect, where electricity is produced from a temperature differential applied across the device. The temperature difference (T°) between the hot (Th) and the cold (Tc) sources leads to a difference in the Fermi energy (E°F) across the thermoelectric material yielding a potential difference, which drives a current.