Sunday, March 23, 2008

Big Breakthrough In Thermoelectric Efficiency!

What I've been praying for.

I've had this instinctive hunch for several years that the real potential of Peltier cooling devices has not advanced beyond the stone age yet.

With better efficiency you could start to get some really useful cooling devices that run off 12 volt systems with the BTUs of a big industrial air conditioner. The waste heat will still have to be exhausted and it will probably be hotter but the cold will be cool enough it will be an optimal method for cooling and dehumifying a large shelter on a low current.

On the flip side, there is the potential to generate electricity itself from all kinds of waste heat including the human body! So the waste heat of the shelter inhabitants (including from cooking) could be tapped on it's way out to generate electricity for the lights and to power the Peltier device itself! There is no violation of the law of thermodynamics here, it's just the more efficient capture of energy that is being released anyway. The heat energy coming from the human body representing calories of food burned by metabolism is normally a very troublesome source of heat and humidity. It takes very little energy to heat a shelter up ... what is needed is a low energy process to cool it off again.

The application of this discovery for mass market cheap 12 volt devices like beer chillers and coolers virtually guarantees the technology will be available at decent prices eventually. This discovery sounds really promising for Vault environmental management. Somebody smells money here already - let's hope we see this tech available as soon as possible.

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