Thermoelectric Generators produce Electricity from Heat. Thermoelectric power generation technology is the direct energy conversion from heat into electricity and has attracted much attention as a renewable energy solution. Possible applications for thermoelectricity are: Solar Thermal Power Generation, Waste Heat Energy Harvesting, Hot Air Power Generation, Hot Water Power Generation, etc.

Thermoelectric Generator Tubes produce Electricity from Hot Water

Thermoelectric Generator Tubes produce Electricity from Hot Water

Panasonic has developed innovative thermoelectric generator tubes especially suited for fluid/liquid heat source such as hot water and steam. The tubular shape of thermoelectric generator enables direct and efficient heat transfer without additional heat exchangers, yielding high density of generated power. Panasonic’s thermoelectric tube with simple, compact, and efficient features is an ideal solution for capturing unused or wasted heat from hot springs and factories.

Thermoelectric Tubes Made by Transverse Thermoelectric Effect

As the conventional thermoelectric generators are complicated in structure, they are difficult to scale-up and implement. Panasonic’s thermoelectric tubes solve these problems by using unconventional phenomena called transverse thermoelectric effect, which takes place in a tilted multilayer made of thermally-resistive thermoelectric materials and thermally-conductive metals. This effect makes it possible to control heat flow and electric current independently in materials, and realizes quite simple structure without complicated electric junctions and planar substrates.

Construction of Thermoelectric Generator Tubes

Thermoelectric generator tube is constructed by stacking conical rings of bismuth telluride as thermoelectric material and nickel as metal. Panasonic has developed processing technologies in fabricating conical rings of brittle thermoelectric materials and bonding rings with minimum parasitic electric and thermal losses.

The performance of power generation is strongly dependent on many parameters such as size of the tube and amount of heat source. Panasonic has developed the simulation technology to optimize the design of the thermoelectric tube in order to maximize the output electric power in accordance with surrounding conditions.

Performance of power generation also depends on the application environment, and the type of fluid (such as water, oil, mercury, lead, air, etc.) used for heat transfer.