Thermoelectric energy generators (TEGs) convert heat into electrical energy and are used in a variety of applications including waste heat recovery and remote power generation. One promising application is in using waste heat to power wireless sensor networks (WSNs) which monitor physical or environmental conditions and are used in residential industrial and medical applications. Traditional TEG devices that use waste heat are labor materials and energy intensive and have limited cost-effective scalability for manufacturing. Investigators at UC Berkeley have developed a method to dispenser-print TEG devices using materials that are readily synthesized air stable and can be used over large areas. Furthermore the devices can be printed on flexible substrates resulting in a wider range of potential applications such as wearable electronics. TEGs printed in this way can be used in a wide range of low power energy harvesting applications and are particularly suited for powering WSNs.
1) Cost-effective and scalable technology 2) Easy fabrication of thermoelectric generation via dispenser-printing 3) Power in low microwatt range: useful for low power devices 4) Flexible material: to be used in wider range of applications 5) High ZT due to addition of extra Te 6) Air stable