This chapter presents an analysis of a point-of-use thermoelectric generator that is patented by one of the authors. The design, implementation and performance of the generator for powering electronic monitoring devices and charging batteries is discussed. This passive generator has no moving parts and relies on ambient air cooling. In one iteration it produces 6.9 W of steady state power using six Laird thermoelectric modules (Laird PB23 Series, HT8, 12) when placed on a 160°C steam pipe with a 30°C ambient environment ( Δ T of 130°C). The generator produced 31.2 volts (V) open circuit and 0.89 amperes (A) short circuit. It successfully powered two microcontroller-based security cameras, one with a wireless Local Area Network (LAN) and another with cellular connectivity. In another scenario, the generator produced approximately 6 W with a steam pipe temperature of 140°C and an ambient of 25°C ( Δ T of 115°C). This second system powered LED lights, a cellular-interfaced video surveillance system, and monitoring robots, while simultaneously trickle charging batteries. A third installation totally powered a stand-alone 3G web security camera system.
Part of the book: Advanced Thermoelectric Materials for Energy Harvesting Applications