In order to make a conventional building more efficient or smarter, systems feedbacks are essential. Such feedbacks can include real-time or logged data from various systems, such as temperature, humidity, lighting and CO2 levels. This is only possible by the use of a network of sensors which report to the building management system. Conventional sensors are limited due to wiring and infrastructure requirements. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) however, eliminates the wiring limitations but still in certain cases require periodical battery changes and maintenance. A suitable solution for WSN limitations is to use different types of ambient energy harvesters to power battery-less sensors or alternatively to charge existing batteries so as to reduce their changing requirements. Such systems are already in place using various energy harvesting techniques. Thermoelectric Generators (TEG) are one of them where the temperature gradient is used to generate electricity which is conditioned and used for WSN powering applications. Researchers in this field often face difficulty in estimating the TEG output at the low-temperature difference as manufacturers' datasheets and performance data are not following the same standards and in most cases cover the high-temperature difference (more than 200C°). This is sufficient for industrial applications but not for WSN systems in the built environment where the temperature difference is much smaller (1-20C° is covered in this study). This paper presents a TEG experimental test setup using a temperature controlled hotplate in order to provide accurate TEG performance data at the low-temperature difference range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)