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High-voltage thermoelectric power generators provide energy harvesting for self-powered distributed sensors

November 17, 2010 | Paul Buckley | 222901802
High-voltage thermoelectric power generators provide energy harvesting for self-powered distributed sensors Nextreme Thermal Solutions has introduced the new eTEG HV37 thermoelectric power generator, the next entry in the high-voltage (HV) series of clean energy generators based on thin-film thermoelectrics. The eTEG HV37 converts waste heat into electrical energy for a variety of self-powered applications in the wireless sensor, automotive, aerospace, industrial and medical device markets.

The eTEG HV37 joins Nextreme's other power generators, the eTEG HV56 and HV14, to offer a complete line of thermoelectrics that address a range of power and voltage requirements.

The eTEG HV37 is capable of producing 1.0mW of output power and an open circuit voltage of 170mV at a 10K ΔT in a footprint of only 6mm² . At 50K ∆T, the HV37 produces 24mW of power and an open circuit voltage of 850mV. The module is extremely thin: only 0.6mm high, and can be configured electrically in series to produce higher voltage and power outputs.

Nextreme’s eTEG devices generate electricity via the Seebeck Effect where a voltage is produced from the temperature differential produced by heat flow through the device.

"Deployment of distributed sensors and sensor networks have led to an increased interest in renewable and autonomous power sources," said Dave Koester, vice president of engineering at Nextreme. "The use of waste heat is an attractive source of energy for many applications where power on the order of µW-mW is required."

The high voltage output of the HV37 is enabled by Nextreme’s proprietary micro-scale thermoelectric technology. Certain applications (e.g., generating power off the heat of the human body, or generating power for wireless sensors) require a high density of thermoelectric elements in order to generate power at low temperature differentials. Nextreme’s patented thermal bump fabrication process can achieve thousands of elements per square centimeter.

The eTEG HV37 is a replacement module for the eTEG UPF40, Nextreme's first thin-film power generator. The HV37 has similar power characteristics to the UPF40, but with much higher output voltage in a smaller footprint. The new module is RoHS-compliant and manufactured using eutectic gold-tin (AuSn) solder, which enables assembly temperatures as high as 320 degrees C.

The eTEG HV37 module is available with an eight to 10 week delivery lead time.

Visit Nextreme Thermal Solutions at

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