A robust and stable thermoelectric-based energy harvesting system was developed by Prof. Robert Dell, Prof. Stan Wei and Prof George Sidebotham. It is capable of being clamped onto the outer wall of a hot steam pipe with a temperature of over 160°C using only heat pipes and natural convection of ambient air for cooling.
Several systems were built and tested. One system was built and tested at the Cooper Union in New York City. The power generation was evaluated for different ambient and steam pipe temperatures. The other systems were attached to an 85°C geothermal hot water pipe and a 100-120°C geothermal steam pipe in Iceland. The Cooper Union system was used to power two microcontroller based security cameras, one with wireless LAN and another with cellular connectivity. Additional testing of the PV voltage controller and the generator were conducted in Iceland.
The system can be used to power surveillance systems, even in remote locations without access to the electrical grid. Because the system does not require grid access, it will run constantly, and hence improve security. Furthermore, the unit’s power generation is greater in colder environments that substantially degrade battery performance.
The thermoelectric generator research is conducted under the auspices of the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology at the Cooper Union. The funding and support of Consolidated Edison, The University of Iceland, The Keilir Institute of Technology, the Agricultural University of Iceland, Laird Technologies Inc, Arctic Silver, and Noren Heat Pipe is greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Keith Ng, Glenn Gross, Michael Isakov for their assistance. The Cooper Union student Research Assistants for our thermoelectric research were: Aymen Abdalla, Alex Bronfamn, Raymond Bekheet James Baker, Charles Creamer, Gabriel Carter, Michael David, Erik Dies, Michael Galbo, Dev Ganesh, Jared Harwayne- Gidansky, Shai Givon Chris Gillespi, Michael Granat, Shira Horowitz, Yellena Ilin, Dorra Kridis, Earl Lopez, Tae Young Lee, Gina Magnotti, Samantha Massengill, Stephanie Mei, Takuya Otani, Andy Park, Beatriz Ponce, Jake Presky, Jonathan Rodriguez, Matthew Schoen, Kelly Smolar, Chrystina Sorrentino, Craig Stevenson, Brian Theodor, Luis Vasquez, William Witter, Andrew Yang , Andrew Ye, Ka-Chiun Yiu, and Ho Young Yoon