5.6 - Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting from small and variable Temperature Gradients
- 12. Dresdner Sensor-Symposium 2015
2015-12-07 - 2015-12-09
Hotel Elbflorenz, Dresden
- 5. Mikro- und Nanosensorik
- P. Woias - Albert-Ludwig-Universität Freiburg/D
- 83 - 88
Although there is a wide spectrum of potential applications, thermoelectric energy harvesting from small (typ. 1K) and highly variable (typ. on the second to minute scale) temperature gradients is not covered too much by research activities or applications today. It is obvious that this resource will not provide a wealth of thermal energy to be harvested from, compared with high-temperature resources. However, it has enough potential to provide an energy supply for wireless embedded systems in applications that will in not exhibit huge and stable temperature gradients and heat fluxes, but also no other choices for energy harvesting. This article will explain the technical problems encountered in this very specific area of thermal energy harvesting and will show design concepts for suitable energyautonomous embedded systems. As a result it turns out that a thorough and truly application-specific system design is required to cope with size and space constraints, low output voltages of thermoelectric generators and, especially, the high temporal variability of the small temperature gradients available.