New Technologies and Energy Harvesting

Laird – Higher-power thin-film energy harvesting device suits many needs (eTEG PG8000)

Nov 8 2012 - New Technologies and Energy Harvesting [More New Technologies and Energy Harvesting Articles]

Micro-scale thermal management and power generation specialist, Nextreme Thermal Solutions, has developed a new series of thin-film thermoelectric power generators that offer higher power, more robust mechanical design and ease of integration with common sources of thermal energy. The eTEG PG8000 Series harvests waste heat from thermal sources, converting it into electricity for a variety of self-powered applications in the wireless sensor, automotive, aerospace, industrial and medical device markets. Laird Technologies is the exclusive global reseller for Nextreme thermal management and power generation products.

The eTEG PG8000 Series includes five new modules that can produce between 2.7mW to 21.6mW of output power and open circuit voltages of 0.17V to 1.35V at a temperature differential (ΔT) of only 10K. At 50K ΔT, the series can produce 65mW to 520mW of power and open circuit voltages of 0.85V to 6.8V. The modules can be configured electrically in series to produce higher output voltage.

Thermoelectric power generators (TEGs) convert waste heat from thermal sources into electricity as an alternative source of energy. The devices can provide electricity to a load directly when a constant heat source is available or can be used in combination with batteries when the heat source is variable. The advanced technology eliminates the need to use wires or replaceable batteries as a power source for remote applications.

The eTEG PG8000 Series operates with moderate heat flux density that match the heat flux found in common sources of thermal energy such as piping and industrial manufacturing processes. Heat fluxes in this range simplify integration with heat sinks that are necessary to maintain constant heat flow.

The new series features a high mechanical strength seal ring made from Cirlex polyimide film that provides mechanical isolation across the thermoelectric device, virtually eliminating vertical force and sheer issues. The seal ring also serves as a barrier to moisture and other contaminants that could affect the performance of the module.

“The new PG Series gives our customers a simple, robust pathway to greater output power for energy harvesting applications,” said Dave Koester, vice president of engineering, Nextreme. “The modules are designed to match the performance of readily available heat sinks for simplified and improved thermal to electrical power conversion.”

Nextreme recommends the use of its thermal modeling, design and engineering services to deliver fully-optimized thermal management solutions when using the PG Series. Nextreme routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all design levels from component to module to subsystem. Commercial shipments of the eTEG PG8000 Series will begin in the first quarter of 2013, says the company.

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