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NEXTREME THERMAL SOLUTIONS announced that it has been awarded a United States patent for the design of an innovative solar thermoelectric generator (solar TEG) for high-temperature solar thermoelectric energy conversion.
Patent #7,638,705 - Thermo- electric Generators for Solar Conversion and Related Systems and Methods describes a method of using thermoelectric generators in combination with thermally conductive plates to generate power in response to solar radiation. Thermoelectric devices generate electricity via the Seebeck Effect, where voltage is produced from a temperature differential applied across the device.
High-temperature solar thermal systems that incorporate solar concentrators can operate between 600° and 700°C. At those temperatures, a multi-stage cascade thermoelectric power generator, as depicted in the above illustration, may provide a design efficiency of well over 15%. Design efficiencies in this range permit flexibility and adaptability to new and cost-effective real-world solar thermal systems.
“One of our missions is to harness new sources of energy using disruptive thermoelectric materials and device technology,” said Jim Mundell, chief operating officer at Nextreme. “This solar TEG patent demonstrates our continued leadership in developing new solutions for clean energy harvesting.”
The invention was developed in collaboration with Dr. Rama Venkatasubramanian, director of the Center for Solid State Energetics at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
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