Thermoelectric energy

How our products leverage the untapped potential of waste heat to power the next generation of IoT devices and renewable energy infrastructure.

Converting Temperature Difference into Voltage

Thermal Energy Harvesting

Thermal energy harvesting is the process of converting a temperature difference into electrical energy via the Seebeck Effect using thermoelectric generators (TEGs).

This effect relies on properties of a special class of semiconductors known as thermoelectric materials. When thermal energy migrates through them from a hotter side to a colder side, they create an electric potential.

To operate, our products require a heat flow. Typically, this will be taken from a hot surface such as a hot water pipe, sent through the device and returned to the cold side, usually the surrounding air via a cooling fin or a cold-water return pipe. The amount of energy the product produces is dependent on both the maximum hot temperature and the temperature difference. A higher temperature will produce more energy.

Animation illustrating how our SensEver® Alfa produces a voltage when placed on a hot surface

TEGs are promising alternative power supply

The demand for battery alternatives

According to an article published in March 2021 by the news magazine Manufacturing Global, 98% of businesses report that a single hour of interruption affects their productivity, costing them more than € 100,000 (Production downtime due to battery change). In addition, our own investigations at key players in the different industry segments revealed the following challenges related to the use of battery driven sensor systems: 

  • Replacing a battery in smart building: € 100 per sensor system 
  • Replacing a battery in industrial installation: € 1.000 per sensor system 
  • Batteries not feasible for harsh environments and hard-to-reach places 
  • Sourcing of rare-earth metals like lithium is resource-intensive and unsustainable

Our Industry-Leading TEG solutions

Why TEGnology?

  • Continuous Power Supply: TEGnology provides a continuous and reliable power supply by converting process heat into electricity. This ensures optimal operation of Industrial IoT devices without the need for traditional power sources like batteries or cables 
  • Elimination of Batteries and Wires: By harvesting process heat, our solution eliminates the need for batteries and wiring in powering IoT devices. This reduces the operational complexity and maintenance associated with battery changes and cable installations, leading to reduced downtime and operational costs 
  • Cost Savings: The removal of battery replacements and cable installations translates into significant cost savings over the lifespan of IoT devices. This reduction in total cost of ownership enhances the economic viability of IoT deployments 
  • Durability in Harsh Environments: TEGnology-powered products can be designed to withstand harsh industrial environments, ensuring the reliability and longevity of the power supply solution even in challenging conditions
  • Environmental Impact Reduction: TEGnology-powered solutions contribute to a customer’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. By converting waste heat into electricity, the technology minimizes energy waste and the need for traditional power sources with environmental implications 
  • Sustainability: The use of process heat to generate electricity aligns with sustainability goals. It maximizes the utilization of existing heat resources that would otherwise be lost, promoting more efficient resource utilization 
  • Scalability: TEGnology powered solutions can scale effectively as the Industrial IoT expands, as the availability of process heat is often tied to industrial processes. This scalability addresses the challenge of accommodating a growing number of IoT devices without compromising power supply 
  • Innovation Potential: Our approach opens opportunities for innovation in IoT device design and functionality, as power limitations are mitigated. This can lead to the development of more advanced and feature rich Industrial IoT devices. 

Our FlexTEG surpasses conventional TEG designs on a variety of metrics:

  • 2x higher energy harvesting potential per mass unit 
  • Material cost reduced by 95% thanks to rare metal-free material  
  • High flexibility – allowing wider applications 
  • Capable of withstanding harsh operation conditions 
  • Low-cost production process using existing equipment in printed electronics