Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) Description

What is a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG)?

Thermoelectric generators are devices that convert temperature differences into electrical energy, using a phenomenon called the "Seebeck effect" . Their typical efficiencies are around 5–8%. These are solid-state devices, and have no moving parts.

How a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) Works

The basic concept of a “Thermoelectric Generator” or TEG is outlined below. Thermoelectric Generators work on the following principal:

The Seebeck Effect in TEGs

The Seebeck effect involves a temperature differential across the module by heating one side of the module and cooling the opposite. A Seebeck Module is a thermoelectric generator TEG and a Peltier Module is a thermoelectric cooling module TEC. You can use a TEC as a generator but will not be able to produce much power because of materials used to bond the device together are low temperature under 220°F. To produce meaningful power you will need to expose the hot side to temperatures well above 350°F range. Also have the cold side remove heat and maintain temperatures of 100°F or lower if possible.

Thermoelectric Generators and Temperature Differentials

Thermoelectric Generators work on temperature differentials. The greater the temperature delta of the hot side compared to the cold side, the greater the amount of power will be produced.

Two critical factors control Thermoelectric TEG power output:

1. Temperature Delta: the temperature of the hot side less temperature of the cold side.

2. The quantity of heat that can be moved through the module.

Great effort must be placed on both the heat input design and especially the heat removal design. The better the TEG Generator construction is at moving heat from the hot side to the cold side and dissipating that heat once it arrives to the cold side, the more power will be generated. Thermoelectric Seebeck Effect modules are designed for very high power densities, up to 50 times greater than Solar PV. Thermoelectric Generators using cooling liquid perform better than any other method of cooling and typically produce more net additional power than a pump consumes.

Links to more Information on TEGs

More information about Thermoelectric Generators (Wikipedia)

Videos of Thermoelectric Generators (YouTube)

Thermoelectric Generator Forums (TEGforums.com)

More information Web Sites about Thermoelectric Generators below:

Basics of Thermoelectric Generators

Thermoelectric Generator Definitions

Basic information on the Thermoelectric Generator

More information on the Thermoelectric Generator

Electricity from Heat Educational Page

TEGPRO (Experts of TEG systems)

Tegulator (Complete line TEG power regulators Made in the USA)

Tegmart (Online Store: Thermoelectric Generators, Tegulators, and other Accessories)