In recent years, an increasing concern of environmental issues of emissions, in particular global warming and the limitations of energy resources has resulted in extensive research into novel technologies of generating electrical power. Thermoelectric power generators have emerged as a promising alternative green technology due to their distinct advantages. Thermoelectric power generation offer a potential application in the direct conversion of waste-heat energy into electrical power where it is unnecessary to consider the cost of the thermal energy input. The application of this alternative green technology in converting waste-heat energy directly into electrical power can also improve the overall efficiencies of energy conversion systems. In this paper, a background on the basic concepts of thermoelectric power generation is presented and recent patents of thermoelectric power generation with their important and relevant applications to waste-heat energy are reviewed and discussed.
Keywords: Thermoelectric power generation, waste-heat recovery, alternative green technology, direct energy conversion, electrical power, thermoelectric materials
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