Thermoelectric generation of electricity in rural areas
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Uganda is a growing economy and energy particularly electricity is one of the major drivers of this growth. There is however an overdependence on only one source of electricity which is hydropower in Uganda. As a result, the cost of electricity is high and there is a lot of power rationing which affects the reliability of this source of electricity. The other sources of energy like solar, wind, biomass and geothermal have many demerits to society for instance pollution, cost, technicality and unpredictability but with recent advancements, a technology known as thermoelectric generation that was invented a long time ago and is still undergoing development could provide a simple remedy to the inadequate electricity. Thermoelectric effect is a phenomenon in engineering under electrical material properties that deals with generation of a voltage when junctions of different materials precisely semiconductors are supplied with hot and cold temperatures. This could be achieved by help of a device (thermoelectric generator) that will be explained more in the report. This project basically dealt with generation of electricity that could be utilized by rural households who don’t have access to hydroelectricity power grid systems or use an alternative of solar incase the season is rainy or at night where it’s not available. To shine more light on the subject matter, investigations of the electricity use in rural homes were done, information concerning thermo electric generation and its viability gathered, a prototype that could produce a current designed and finally tested. The research about electrical usage was conducted in Luwero, seeta village upon which the sources of energy found were fireplaces that were used for cooking, a thermoelectric system that involved connecting thermoelectric generators in series to give us a desired voltage that could be boosted was developed, a diode that permitted current to flow in one direction incorporated and battery that stores energy for future use in order to power other loads like lights, phone charging and radio was also added. Results were tabulated showing the viability of the project in comparison with solar energy. One recommendation to be attended to is coming up with a circuit that stabilizes the flickering voltage from the connected devices and it could be achieved by using a voltage regulator.