Thermoelectric Devices for Home Appliances in Small One-Person Apartments

October 13, 2018 by Paul Shepard

LG Innotek will introduce a breakthrough solution for one-person household appliances, the demand for which is rapidly increasing in China. LG Innotek intends to expand its market by introducing its recently-announced thermoelectric semiconductors to China, which contribute to reducing the size and weight of existing household appliances such as refrigerators and water purifiers.

The company said it will hold the "Thermoelectric Semiconductor Technology Forum", which will showcase the latest thermoelectric semiconductor technology, at the Hyatt Regency Global Harbor Hotel in Shanghai, China on October 25.

The thermoelectric semiconductor is an innovative component which can perform the cooling and heating functions by providing the semiconductor component with electricity and can use temperature difference to produce electrical power. This semiconductor uses the "Peltier effect", which generates heat on one side and cools on the other side when electricity runs through the semiconductor, as well as the "Seedbeck effect", which generates electric power when there is a temperature difference between both sides.

Applying thermoelectric semiconductors to household appliances such as refrigerators and water purifiers greatly reduces the size and noise of the appliances. If the noise level of a small compressor-type refrigerator is 29dB, it can be brought down to as low as 19dB if the product uses the thermoelectric semiconductor. This value is even lower than the noise level in a broadcasting studio (20dB). Home appliances can also be made smaller and slimmer than the compressor-type products by up to 40%.

LG Innotek's proprietary nano-polycrystalline material achieves ultra-fine crystal structure in the size of nanometers (nm). One nanometer is about a hundred thousandth the thickness of the hair.

Its strength and efficiency are superior to those of conventional thermoelectric semiconductors, to which the previous mono-crystalline material is applied, and its application range can be extended to various fields such as vehicles, ships, and waste heat power plants.

In addition, it has the advantage of increasing the cooling efficiency by 30% by minimizing thermal resistance. When cooled to the same temperature, the nano-polycrystalline material can reduce the power consumption by up to 30%. It is expected to contribute greatly to widening the application range of thermoelectric semiconductors.

At the "Shanghai Thermoelectric Semiconductor Technology Forum", the company will unveil thermoelectric semiconductor solutions, which incorporate thermoelectric materials, elements and modules produced using its proprietary technologies, and future R&D roadmaps. There will also be an exhibition booth where the forum participants can experience the products applied with the thermoelectric semiconductors.