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 Energy Harvesting Using Thermoelectric Microgenerators: Realistic Perspective or Utopian Idea? A Critical Analysis

Authors & Affiliations

Gerhard Wachutka
Chair of Physics of Electrotechnology, Technical University of Munich,
Arcisstrasse 21, 80290 Munich,



Microstructured cell-arrayed thermoelectric power generators, which are able to convert (waste) heat into a few milliwatts or even watts of electrical energy, seem to be particularly attractive for the autonomous power supply of microelectronic circuitry and electronic or micromechatronic appliances without the use of batteries. However, the conversion efficiencies achieved so far are very small. A critical analysis shows that there is still a certain potential for improvements toward the theoretical limits, but that some expectations seem to be rather unrealistic and questionable in view of the physical and technological limitations.


thermoelectric microgenerators, critical analysis

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