Generate Electricity with Peltier Module – The Seebeck Effect

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Hi Gang!
I’m going to show how I used this Peltier module,
and some cold and hot water to generate electricity. Here this LED is being brightly lit by it. I found my Peltier module in this hot and
cold water dispenser. I opened up the back,
removed the fan, and the heat sink.
Stuck to the back of the heat sink was the Peltier module.
How do you use it? Apply heat to this side
and cooling to this side, so that there’s a temperature difference across
the two sides. When you do,
electricity will be made to flow through the wires.
This is called the Seebeck effect. You’ll be generating electricity. Here’s a very simple way to test it. I cut some short pieces of aluminum bars
which I got from Home Depot. I clip them to either side of the Peltier
module. I then get two plastic containers and put
the aluminum bars in. I do it in such way that the aluminum in contact
with one side of the Peltier module is in one container,
and the aluminum in contact with the other side of the module
is in the other container. Next up is to measure how much voltage and
current it can produce, with no load.
I hook up a meter to the Peltier module. I then put cold water in this container,
add a little ice, and put boiling water from a kettle in this
container. By doing this, the heat from the hot water
rises up this aluminum bar, through the Peltier module,
and down this aluminum bar to the cold water. As the heat moves through the module,
you can see the electrical current rises. Switching to the voltage setting,
you can see the voltage also rises. The highest current I see is around 143 milliamps
and the highest voltage is around 854 millivolts. Around this point the cold side is still cool
and the hot side is too hot to hold a finger on. Time to generate some electricity to power
this LED. I first try by just connecting the LED.
But even after putting in fresh cold water, ice,
and hot water, and waiting a little,
that isn’t good enough to light this LED. That’s where this circuit comes in.
It’s called a joule thief circuit. Here it’s being powered by a battery whose
voltage is so low, it’s considered dead.
The joule thief stores up the power from the battery
and once it’s built up a bunch, it dumps it all at once into the LED in a
quick, more powerful burst,
enough to provide the needed voltage and current to light it up.
And then it builds up some more and dumps it again.
The LED is powered only during the powerful bursts,
but it looks like it’s always on. So I connect the joule thief circuit to the
Peltier module. I again put cold water,
and ice, in one container
and boiling hot water in the other. Sure enough,
12 seconds later, when enough heat has made its way up to the
Peltier module, the Peltier module is generating enough electricity
to light LED, with the help of the joule thief circuit.
As time goes by more and more heat moves from the hot water to the cold water,
warming the cold side and cooling the hot side.
And after 15 minutes and 21 seconds the Peltier module no longer puts out enough
voltage and current, and the LED no longer lights up. One last thing.
The Peltier module I found in the water dispenser is a TEC type,
a Thermoelectric Cooler, designed for cooling,
not generating electricity. It can handle only up to around 100 to 110
celsius or 212 to 230 fahrenheit
before being damaged. For serious electricity generation you’ll
want a TEG type, a Thermoelecrtic Generator.
They can handle up to 200 to 300 celsius or 400 to 500 fahrenheit
and put out much more power. Well, thanks for watching! See my youtube channel, rimstarorg for more
videos like this. That includes one where I use this same Peltier
module, but in the opposite way,
running electricity through it to freeze water and doing some efficiency testing.
Another video where I show step-by-step how to make
the joule thief circuit I used to light the LED using a dead battery.
And for variety, one about how fast an electron and electricity
move down a wire. The slowness of the electron may surprise
you. And don’t forget to subscribe if you like
these videos, or give a thumbs up or leave a question or
comment below. See you soon!

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