Until now, TEGs have only been used in niche applications due to the complexity of the conventional laborious manufacturing process which includes numerous cost intensive manual fabrication steps. The available materials are another obstacle: they are quite expensive, but can only be used at temperatures below 200°C. As a consequence, many hotter waste heat sources in industry can therefore not be exploited.
Energy-intensive industries such as the production and processing of cement, glass, ceramics and metal offer particularly high potential for energy recovery from waste heat. Such facilities frequently reach temperatures far above 200°C. Further, TEGs offer a compact solution to recover waste heat from the exhaust tract of truck or ship diesel engines.
Other potential applications include autonomous energy systems such as gas-operated fan heaters for large tents. Such tents are frequently set up in places without a power source, for example as emergency shelters. High-efficiency TEGs could directly generate power from the waste heat to operate lights, phones or similar applications. The application range can further be extended to self-sufficient heating systems and remote sensor powering as required by the Internet of Things (IoT).
Turning waste heat into electricity:
High-temperature waste heat
- Industrial exhaust
- Radiation waste heat
- Processing heat
- Company fleets
Self-suficient energy supply
- Combined heat and power (CHP) and block-type thermal power stations
- Power generators
- Heating systems
- Wireless sensors