Electromagnetic Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Device
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports 17.6% annual growth rate in sustainable energy production. However, sustainable power generation based on environmental conditions (wind, solar) requires an infrastructure that can handle intermittent power generation. This dissertation proposes an electromagnetic thermoelectric (EMTE) device to overcome the intermittency problems of current sustainable energy technologies, providing the continuous energy supply unachievable by photovoltaic cells and portability impossible for traditional thermal electric (TE) generators. The EMTE converts environmental electromagnetic waves to a voltage output without requiring additional energy source. A single cell of this thermoelectric-inspired broadband EMTE can generate a 19.50 nV output within a 7.2 µm square area, with a verified linear scalability of the output voltage through cell addition. This idea leads to a challenge: the electrical polarity of each row of cells is the same but may require additional routing to combine output from each row. An innovative layout is proposed to overcome this issue through switching the electrical polarity every other row. In this scheme, the EM wave absorption spectrum is not altered, and a simple series connection can be implemented to boost the total voltage output by one order within a limited area. To further improve the output over single cell, a passive EM wave intensity booster is tested. An 11.9 % voltage improvement is realized through an external 2D-grating structure. In the future, we expect to improve the performance in three different directions: first, incorporation of new materials; second, optimization of single cells; third, use of active intensity booster.
- Mechanical engineering