Thermoelectric materials and modules for wearable devices utilizing human body heat
"A thermoelectric (TE) generator generates electrical power based on Seebeck effect which can utilize human body as heat source. Such a generator could be used powering small electronics or health/fitness monitoring devices. TE devices run continuously, maintenance free, and silently which is important for reliable power need. Typically a human body releases 80-100W of energy continuously during rest and much more during workouts. A small fraction of it is enough to produce useful power for many small-power wearable devices. Using commercial materials/modules it is possible to generate electrical power several microwatts per cm2. However, with proper heat concentration design and heat dissipation together with high performance nanostructured TE materials, it is possible to increase the power production to be meaningful for an application. In this work, we demonstrate using our Bi-Te based high performance nanostructured material with ultra-low thermal conductivity and low fill fraction module, power output can be significantly enhanced. We will also discuss the importance of optimized materials properties such as low thermal conductivity to achieve higher temperature differential thereby producing higher power output."