, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 1483-1490
Date: 24 Jan 2009

Thermal Shunts in Thermoelectric Energy Scavengers

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The necessity for an additional component in thermoelectric generators and low-dimensional thermopiles for improving the efficiency of energy scavengers is discussed. Energy scavengers usually work at a small temperature difference and high thermal resistance of the heat source and sink, i.e., of the environment. The name “thermal shunt” is given to this component because, firstly, it is connected thermally in parallel to a certain zone of the environment in the vicinity of a thermopile and, secondly, it shunts this zone thermally. As a result, the heat flow through the thermopile increases, improving its performance characteristics.