Electricity generation in most countries depend mainly on turbine driving combustion engines and account for about 90% of the generated electricity world wide.
These systems operate at an efficiency of around 35% so the rest of the input energy is lost as waste heat. Progress in using thermoelectric high power generators was very slow in the past due to poor electrical and thermal properties of the materials used to produce the TG modules which are the main part of thermoelectric generator, this situation continued to be true for many decades . Luckily the situation has changed since the start of this century as researchers in universities and industry started to experiment with many materials that has more suitable properties and some research results indicate that figure of merit of about 2.0 has been achieved (figure of merit determine the usability of the material to produce the modules) leading to the production of thermoelectric modules having an efficiency of over 10%.
It is well known for decades that thermoelectric devices are superior in many respects , so with the improvement in efficiency, they are getting now more popular as power generators.
Some companies has actually started producing thermoelectric power generator with an out put electrical power of 25 KW, this can be used in manufacturing plants, oil and pipeline sites, electrical power plants and in marine vessels to convert waste heat power to useful electrical power which could account to extra power of about 20% that was other wise wasted. I consider this as a substantial improvement .
In automobile industry, many car companies has actually started few years ago experimenting to use the wasted fumes out of the exhaust pipe in their vehicles to convert into useful electrical power in order to increase the fuel efficiency of their automobiles , some of these companies has in fact succeeded in doing so by feeding the fumes to thermoelectric solid state module which convert input heat into useful electrical power. Some claim that they managed to decrease fuel consumption of their vehicles by about 15%. In this way wasted heat has added extra useful power and helps to protect the environment in the same time. Perhaps these high power generators with no moving parts , highly reliable and mostly free of faults will help to reduce electrical power shortage in underdeveloped countries especially in remote locations.
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