What is a TEG Module?
A TEG module stands for Thermo-electric Generator and is also called a Seebeck Generator. This is a device that is capable of converting heat energy into electric energy. They are used in a wide range of applications from detecting heat levels in ovens and stoves to production of electricity on the space shuttle. OriginThe TEG module is based on the Seebeck effect. This is a scientific principle that was discovered by Thomas Seebeck who noticed that an electric current was produced by a closed loop junction made of two metals when heat was applied across the junctions. This is because the heat causes electrons to move from the hot to the cold material. The first of these devices were made using bimetallic junctions but these proved to be too bulky and were, therefore, replaced by a semiconductor material that is made of Bismuth Telluride.
There are two main application modes for TEG modules. First, they can be used to produce electric energy from heat as discovered by Seebeck. Second, another scientist called Peltier discovered that the reverse of the above principle held true. This has made it possible to create TEG modules that can be used to produce heat or cold. There is no functional difference between modules used for either the first or second application but rather their mode of usage and construction of their respective electric circuits is what differs. Uses of TEG modulesTEG modules are used where size and reliability are a factor. For example, they are used to provide energy for space modules such as the Mars Rover because they are reliable and will not need maintenance services, which would be unavailable. Here are some of the other uses of these devices.
- They are used in devices where there is a need for a heat detection unit such as cooking ovens. They can be calibrated to ensure that they provide the necessary feedback for the stove or oven unit.
- They are popular design mechanism for stove fans, which are used to heat the surroundings in cold places. TEG module provides the power source for them, making them highly economical and efficient to run.
- They have been used to generate electricity where there is heat produced. This is very useful in converting the large quantities of waste heat that are produced as a byproduct of many commonplace devices such as cars, industrial processes, and more.
- Where an outdoor furnace is used both industrially and for home use, these devices have been installed to use the heat provided to generate electricity. It is possible in some countries to feed excess power produced here back to the energy grid.
- Solar panels are only able to use the radiation part of sunlight and thus the heat is wasted. There are applications designed to convert this heat into electrical energy, thus increasing the efficiency of solar power generation.
- There is ongoing research into making more energy efficient micro-processor units that have TEG modules to convert the heat produced into electrical energy.