A thermoelectric module relies on the "thermoelectric effect" to convert heat directly into electricity.
It is a solid state device with no moving parts and so it is completely silent and extremely reliable.
Due to the high reliability of thermoelectric power supplies they have been used for years to provide
electrical power in space missions where solar power is not available. Two examples of the many space
missions that have relied on thermoelectric power supplies are the "Voyager" that was sent into deep space
and has operated successfully for more the 20 years and the "Apollo" lunar missions where thermoelectric
power supplies powered equipment that was left behind for more than a decade.
Hi-Z modules are based on bismuth telluride alloys and are most efficient in temperature ranges from
-20°C to 300°C. The bonded metal conductors enable Hi-Z modules to operate continuously for up to 10
years or longer. While Hi-Z modules are optimized as power generators the reversible thermoelectric effect
allows them to be used as thermoelectric coolers.
Advantages of Hi-Z modules:
Hi-Z Technology’s line of thermoelectric generator (TEG) modules differ from any other on the market in
their suitability for electric power generation from heat sources. The competition starts with Peltier
cooling modules, then modifies some of the materials of construction to tolerate higher temperatures.
The Hi-Z TEG modules were designed from the beginning for TEG applications. They have the following
- Compressive Strength – They can tolerate being clamped between flat metal plates with at least
500 psi of pressure (short term) and 200 psi long term at temperature.
- Warpage Tolerant – When one side is heated and one side is cooled, warpage is inevitable.
Hi-Z’s TEG modules use a flexible matrix of glass fiber reinforced high temperature polymer to hold
the thermoelements in place. The competition all use brittle alumina plates. When the plates crack,
the circuit is broken and the module dies.
- Life Expectancy – Our thermally-sprayed circuitry is solder-free and perfectly compatible
with the bismuth telluride thermoelectric materials. Competitors all use solders that diffuse into the
legs over time and poison them.
- Over-Temperature Tolerance – Our modules can withstand brief excursions above 350°C without
permanent damage. The competion cannot.