Energy harvesting has been a hot topic lately and has attracted interest for developing clean and sustainable energy technologies. While there are many different aspects of thermoelectrics that are being researched and engineered for improvements, one is significant thermal difference (ΔT). In a past blog, we talked about a newly developed TEG that can operate with a 5 degree C thermal difference, but today we will talk about a flexible photo-thermoelectric nanogenerator.
Have you ever thought about the part that light can play in thermoelectrics? Scientists engineered a photo-thermoelectric nanogenerator by integrating a MoS2/PU (molybdenum disulfide/polyurethane) photothermal layer with a Te/PEDOT (tellurium and [poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)], film-based thermoelectric device. It is essentially a combination of infrared light and a thermoelectric generator.
The illumination of infrared light provides thermal energy through the photothermal effect, so photo-thermoelectric generators can use this light energy to harvest energy without the need for ΔT. MoS2 was integrated into the device due to its high absorption efficiency of IR light that makes it a great photothermal agent.
This PTENG is a strategic coupling of the photothermal effect and the Seebeck effect, creating a lower necessary ΔT for energy harvesting through the use of infrared light. Additionally, it is flexible enough to adapt and have multiple applications. It does not require the bulky segments of a typical TEG, making them small, portable, and wearable.
Thermoelectric technologies are constantly changing to fit our needs and desires. These devices are becoming smaller, adaptive, eco-friendly, sustainable, biodegradable, and more. In our next blog post, we will go over another innovation in thermoelectrics.
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