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New Thermoelectric Device Produces 5W/cm², Could Save Laptop Batteries

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Netxtreme, a company providing thermal solutions, has come up with a thermoelectric evaluation kit, called eTEG UPF40 (embedded ThermoElectric Generator). It’s an interesting concept, because of its efficiency (greater than that of standard thermoelectric materials) at converting heat into electricity.

nextreme_eteg_evaluation_kit_exploded_viewIt’s easy at first glance: the eTEG uses the Seebeck effect, consisting of the conversion of temperature differences directly into electricity in two metals or semiconductors, in which a thermal difference produces a voltage across the two. Their kit is not cheap ($295), but with time its price may decrease.

The ability of Nextreme’s thin-film thermoelectric materials to convert waste heat into electrical energy using a thin, nanoscale form factor positions it uniquely to address market opportunities that standard bulk thermoelectric devices and other energy scavenging or energy reclamation systems cannot address.

Practically, you only need a power supply for a heater, and a voltmeter to measure eTEG’s output across a load. Of course, the fan installed atop of it can be powered from the eTEG itself (remember the MSI motherboard using a stirling engine system for self-cooling?)

The wonderful fact is that the eTEG can generate up to 5W/cm² at 120°C. That’s fantastic, it could dramatically reduce the power consumption of laptop and desktop computers. The testing prototype measures only 1.6×3.2mm.

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