Contact Center Industry News

TMCNet:  2012, The Year of New Practical Thermoelectric Power Generators

[December 27, 2012]

2012, The Year of New Practical Thermoelectric Power Generators

New York, NY, Dec 27, 2012 ( via COMTEX) -- Power Practical, an alternative-energy company, is trying to solve an increasingly age-old problem. Over the past decades computers have gone from the size of a room to the size of a Pop-Tart, and in the process have become both more powerful and efficient. But now that our devices are portable, how do we keep them charged Sure it's usually easy at home or at work. Still, there will always be those times when our battery dies and we have to wait to do something important.

Not surprisingly, most smart phone owners report at least occasional trouble keeping their devices charged, especially when away from work or home. To address this need, a number of new products have emerged. From the Goal0 Nomad solar panel to the New Trent iCarrier battery, there are many options for staying charged during power outages or on the go.

So far, small solar panels and portable battery packs are the first line of defense when the power goes out. But when the sun isn't available and solar won't work, there are still ways of harvesting electricity. Take thermoelectric technology for instance. Thermoelectric generators take a temperature difference and turn it directly into electricity with no moving parts. The past year saw major advances in the field of thermoelectric power generation both in academics and commercially.

Thermoelectrics are a class of materials that make electricity when hot on one side and cold on the other. This power can then be harnessed to power devices or charge a battery. Thermoelectric devices are also commonly referred to as peltier generators or seebeck generators, in tribute to the two major pioneers of the field: Jean Peltier and Thomas Seebeck.

2012 was a great year for thermoelectric generators. In the academic world, new records were set for 'bulk' thermoelectric materials which may someday be used to improve thermoelectric generators used in the field. Two major articles were published in the prestigious journal Nature. The first was on a new material copper selenide (CuSe), with it's "liquid like" crystal structure which is optimized for thermoelectric power generation. The group made advancements with a well known thermoelectric material lead telluride (PbTe) by making it from nanosized crystals. These small crystals when formed together improve the temperature difference by slowing down the flow of heat.

This past year was even more exciting for the commercial world of thermoelectric generators. New products ranging from t-shirts to cooking pots hit the market, all promising to turn a difference in temperature into power--anywhere from 0.001 to 5 watts! Never before has there been such a range of peltier generators available to charge small USB-powered devices. Notable brand names include the PowerPot and Biolite. The Biolite is a wood-burning stove that uses a fan, battery, and thermoelectric generator to create a hot and smoke-free fire for cooking outdoors. It is said to produce 2-4 watts of power, which in some cases is enough to charge smartphones. The PowerPot is a peltier generator built into the bottom a backpacking pot which creates electricity while the user cooks up a meal. The PowerPot has a 5 watt output, enough to charge any Android or iPhone handset.

One advantage thermoelectrics offer against solar power is its ability to work indoors and at night. Solar energy may offer a simpler user experience but thermoelectric power can be tapped any time of the day and even in adverse weather conditions. This makes it especially useful for emergency preparedness and disaster relief. In many emergency situations, especially tornadoes and hurricanes, power outages are often accompanied by bad weather and a lack of sunlight. This creates the need for an energy source that works without sunlight, such as thermoelectric generators.

Read the full story at

[ Back To Cloud Contact Center's Homepage ]


Featured Resources

Featured Report
Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations

Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations

The "why" behind this research is simple: our clients recognize that different generations bring different expectations, varied communication preferences and new customer service patterns to the customer experience...
Featured Report
Optimizing the Customer Experience through Cloud Contact Centers

Optimizing the Customer Experience through Cloud Contact Centers

Adoption of cloud contact centers is on the rise. Findings from Aberdeen's January 2014 'Public Cloud vs. On-Premise: How to More Effectively Deploy a Cloud Center' study shows that 31% of contact centers are deployed in the cloud, and our related blog post highlights that companies anticipate their adoption of cloud technology to rise further throughout 2014...
Featured Report
Aberdeen report

Aberdeen Report: Cloud for Mid-Sized Contact Centers – What You Must Know

Cloud Technology is opening new doors for many businesses. However, it does so only when it's combined with the use of best practices and key technology enablers. This document highlights the adoption of cloud technology by mid-size contact centers and illustrates the reasons driving their investments...
Featured Whitepaper
Aberdeen report

Seven Critical Capabilities to Demand From Your Cloud Contact Center Provider

To deliver a world-class customer experience, your contact center must be flexible and reliable, while providing all the tools agents and supervisors need to manage their workflows. Here are seven critical capabilities to look for when deploying a contact center in the cloud...
Featured Webinar

Contact Center Economics and the Cloud

Together, Bob and Drew will help you understand the economic value of upgrading technology, important business and financial considerations, and how to compare total cost of ownership of a premises vs. cloud or hosted solution. Watch the webinar on-demand now...
Featured Datasheet
Zipwire Cloud Contact Center

Zipwire Cloud Contact Center

The appeal of moving services to the cloud is obvious. Cloud services offer reliability and robust feature sets without the need to implement or maintain complex contact center infrastructure. The Zipwire™ cloud-based contact center allows businesses to leverage the flexibility and cost savings of cloud architecture while offering a seamless, first-class customer experience...