Two Letters Re: Thermoelectric Generators for Wood and Coal Stoves

To follow up on an earlier letter and your reply, Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) work by generating power from the movement of heat from the hot side to the cold side of a dissimilar metal junction. An important consideration is that TEGs can become heat saturated or worse if you can melt your TEG, so don’t just throw it in the middle of a fire!

I followed a design from “The Boy Electrician” by Alfred P Morgan 1913. It uses German silver wire and copper wire with hammered junctions, there are better combinations but this was easy to get. It would make enough electricity to run a small radio like the kind found on dollar store crank radios or a few LEDs. Modern TEGs are much more efficient and use a solid state Peltier–Seebeck chip. Be sure to buy a high temp solder chip, since the ones used in coolers will melt at much lower temperatures. These solid state devices can also be used with lanterns. In my experiments, I used one attached to a home made brass reflector on a kerosene pressure lantern and produced less than a watt at 3 volts. But several can be ganged [together in series,parallel, or series/parallel arrangements] for higher voltage or amperage. TEG lantern/radios are available.

Shalom, – David in Israel (SurvivalBlog Correspondent in Israel)


Since I have messed with TEGs for some time, I ran across the guys at Hi-Z Technology. Check out the work they and others have done with their product. – Robert, in Nashville, Tennessee