Nextreme Doubles Efficiency & Power Output Of Its Thin-Film Thermoelectric Power Generators

March 22, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Nextreme Thermal Solutions announced that it has doubled the efficiency and power output of its thin-film thermoelectric power generator. Recently Nextreme undertook a development program, made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Green Business Fund, to enhance the efficiency of its devices used to convert waste heat into electricity.

By modifying the thermoelectric epitaxial materials, Nextreme states that it was able to increase the power conversion efficiency and power output by a factor of two compared with standard thin-film thermoelectric generators operating under the same heat input conditions. The company claims that this achievement represents a substantial milestone in epitaxial film growth and is a technology first for the thermoelectric industry.

Nextreme’s thin-film embedded thermoelectric generator (eTEG™) produces electricity via the Seebeck effect, where electricity is produced from a temperature differential applied across the device. Nextreme synthesized bismuth telluride epitaxial films that demonstrated a thermal-to-electrical power conversion efficiency increase of more than two-times when compared with baseline thin-film thermoelectric devices. At 9W of heat input power, the devices produced in this program generated 247mW of output power, equivalent to 2.6% power conversion efficiency.

The company states that the performance improvements demonstrated in this program will have a significant, positive impact on Nextreme’s ability to target micro-power applications with its products.

"The NC Green Fund Program provided the impetus and focus for Nextreme in demonstrating the feasibility of improving our material’s power conversion efficiency," said Dr. Jesko von Windheim, CEO of Nextreme. "The grant provided a much needed first step in proving the commercial viability of this technology."

Nextreme plans to introduce new products based on the improved material performance in the future.