National Institute of Fundamental Studies

Project Description

This project will investigate the use of thermoelectric (TE) devices to generate electricity from waste heat and solar energy. A thermoelectric device is an energy conversion system that converts thermal energy directly into electrical energy. A device of this type is commonly referred to as a thermoelectric generator (TEG). It has been known that when a conductor is subjected to a temperature gradient, there is a flow of electrons along the conductor. In order to get these electrons as a useful current through an external circuit, it is necessary to make two junctions with dissimilar material and maintain a temperature difference between the junctions. The phenomenon that generates electricity this way is called the Seebeck effect. This project has two major aims:

  1. developing modules that have wider applications and uses in more situations (e.g. providing low-cost alternative energy sources for rural areas, energy saving devices for motor vehicles, micro- and nano-devices with many applications)
  2. developing more efficient thermoelectric materials (increasing the thermo-voltaic values by choosing suitable material, improving voltage-current output for lower temperature gradients

Research Group

Group Leader

Dr. Deepal Subasinghe

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Chief Technical Officer

Mr. S.Opatha

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Chief Technical Officer

Mr. A. Pathirana

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Expected Outcomes

Introducing and initiating one of the timely fields of research in Sri Lanka. Developing interest and awareness on thermoelectricity and its applications in Sri Lanka. Understanding the effect of different parameters and geometry of elements on the TE power output. Developing TE modules that are cheap, affordable and practical. Developing more efficient TE modules using non-conventional assembly methods. Production of TE generators that can run on any locally available waste energy source (e.g. solar energy, waste heat from cooking or from factories, heat from burning straw, rice husk or dried weeds). Investigation of possibility of producing TEG units as a local/domestic industry (similar to the production of solar water heaters in Sri Lanka)

- Information provided by the Group Leader -