In this video I test one of my homemade energy harvester circuits with the latest in Seebeck-effect thermoelectric generator (TEG) technology from TegWay to create a wearable, flexible body heat to electricity generator to power a color changing LED light.
TegWay have developed flexible Peltier-effect thermoelectric heater/cooler (TEC) modules for use in augmented and immersive virtual reality applications - giving game controllers the ability to create feelings of cold or heat for immersive movie or gaming experiences for example. The same technology can also be used to create TEG modules for use in energy harvesting applications.
This kind of flexible energy harvester kind of a silver bullet for energy harvesting from body heat and also from waste heat from pipes and circular objects such as pipes which would have been difficult to attach a monolithic rigid TEG module and efficiently power devices from, such as IOT sensors and such, and to conserve energy loss in general from a system.
It may be possible to see flexible thermoelectric generator modules stitched into clothing in the near future for powering smart devices such as phones and watches. More interesting applications still involve the development of thermoelectric energy generator (TEG) suits for expeditions in remote places to power electronics for geotagging or monitoring sensors. Perhaps such TEG Suits could be put to use out in the blustery conditions at sea, in mountains and the cold polar regions of the Earth or even developed into spacesuits for generating on-demand electricity for astronauts exploring Mars!. One can think of an suit that harvests Energy in cold environments being a huge advantage in places such as Antarctica or in the frigid conditions of the planet Mars where the temperature differences between the human body inside the suit and the subzero temperature outside the suit could be used to create a significant amount of power for explorers.
Another application could be in the geotagging of animals using a system that does not depend on batteries recharging from solar panels and instead uses the animals own body heat to power the device, again perhaps for maritime applications or in colder regions of the earth.
For the moment research is ongoing in developing applications and this still remains an interesting demonstration to observe the ability to transform one type of energy, thermal energy, into another, electrical energy.