Design and implementation of a low cost thermo electric generator for a rural homested to solve for electricity inaccessibility
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This project focuses on the design and implementation of a system that generates electricity from heat of a cook stove. Most of the people in rural areas that have no access to the national grid are using biomass to meet their energy need mostly cooking. However, in the course of cooking, a big percentage of energy in form of heat is lost to the surrounding through radiation making the efficiency very low. Therefore, I came up with this idea of generating electricity from the waste heat using thermoelectric generator modules. The generated electricity is stored in a Lead acid battery and can later on be used to power light bulbs, radios etc. This project has proven to be helpful to people in rural areas which have no access to electricity because of several reasons mainly low income. It has given these people a possibility of electrical energy for house lighting which facilitates reading for families that have school going children, unpolluted air in the house since the use of lanterns and candles is associated with by-products of combustion which could cause respiratory illnesses most especially to children under the age of 10 years and also fire accidents. Cooking is mostly done using cook-stoves which vary greatly in size and design depending on the user’s needs. This gave us a chance of being able to tap the radiated heat energy without compromising the cooking operation. Using thermoelectric generators (TEG), the heat from the cook stove is converted into electrical energy (DC voltage and DC current). The amount of power generated mainly depends on the temperature difference on the two surface TEG i.e. the HOT side should be made as hot as possible while the COLD side of the TEG should be made as cold as possible. In this project we were able to generate 10 Watts that powered three LED bulbs. The technical challenge faced in the project was maintaining a big temperature difference between the faces of the TEG for a long time. For further work, I recommend that whoever may be interested in working on this project should focus on devising a more effective cooling method for better result.