|Komatsu thermoelectric generation module. Click to enlarge.|
Construction-equipment manufacturer Komatsu Ltd. will launch the commercial production and sales of thermoelectric generation (TEG) modules beginning in May.
Komatsu’s TEG modules, which are based on a bismuth (Bi) and tellurium (Te) material, have a conversion efficiency of 7.2% under a temperature differential of 280 °C on the high-temperature side and 30 °C on the low-temperature side. Under these conditions, maximum output is 24W per module, with a power density of approximately 1 W cm-2.
Modules measure 50mm x 50mm x 4.2mm (excluding the lead wire) and weigh 47 grams (1.67 oz). At maximum output, current is 3A with voltage of 8V.
Komatsu says that its thermoelectric generation modules offer 50% or higher output power density compared to similar products on the market. Komatsu is conducting research in applications designed to regenerate electric energy from the exhaust gas from its diesel-powered construction equipment.
Komatsu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KELK, a leading manufacturer of temperature-control equipment for use in semiconductor manufacturing and an integrated researcher, developer and manufacturer of thermoelectric modules, heat exchangers and applied products. KELK says it has the global leadership position for thermoelectric modules (Peltier devices).
Some areas of research in thermoelectricity are undertaken by Komatsu’s Research Division for the Komatsu Group. With respect to the thermoelectric generation module, Komatsu participated in the “Development for Advanced Thermoelectric Conversion Systems” (FY2002 - FY2006), an energy conservation program, sponsored by Japan’s NEDO (The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), and has commercialized the results of this program.
The thermoelectric generation modules will be exhibited in NEDO’s booth at the nano tech 2009 conference and expo at Tokyo Bigsight, 18-20 February. The announced price per module (minimum order of 50) is ¥30,000 (US$334).