Listen Now Download as mp3 from the show Reclaiming Wasted Watts - Thermoelectric Generators
Jim Robertson asked:
What about domestic gas boilers? Could we scale down TEGs technology to a domestic level?
Andrew - Domestic gas boilers, I suspect, would probably not be a particularly good use for thermoelectrics because thermoelectrics are inherently very inefficient at the moment, maybe 5%.
However, if you take something like a wood burning stove, the primary purpose of that is to produce heat in the room and if you covered the surface of the stove with thermo electric material, you could generate a certain amount of electrical energy from the heat transfer through the thermoelectrics. In other words, the primary purpose of the stove is to heat the room and the heat going through the thermoelectrics does that but you can convert a percentage of that into electricity.
The protective devices on a gas fired boiler that ensure that the pilot light is burning use a small TEG syhprum, Tue, 14th Feb 2012
Although I'm not disagreeing with the experts conclusions (that it may not be practical) the reason he gives is not correct.
Yes, it's a pity we can't capture the waste heat our car produces and take it home to heat our house! It would make an enormous dent in our heating bill if we could.
The Russians many years ago marketed a thermoelectric generator that fitted to the top of the glass of an oil lamp that could produce enough power to run a simple transistor radio. Soul Surfer, Wed, 15th Feb 2012
Obviously you don't want to use electric resistance derived heat to generate electric energy, otherwise it would be like a dog chasing its tail.