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Heat Harvesting Backpack Using a Silicon Fabric-Based Flexible Thermoelectric Generator

BERSAMINA, Alyssa
SALAZAR, Lex Brylle
QUINIT, Joshua Mhar
SUMMARY
This patent, thermoelectric energy generator backpack using human body heat, is a unique product
that allows any person of any age to generate electrical energy for everyday use such us for
charging electrical devices (e.g. smartphones, laptops, etc.). This essentially comprises of thermo-
electric generator plates that are embedded at the back panel of the backpack using a screen printing
technique with a self-sustaining structure. This invention also includes a polymer technology,
Polyaryletherketone that adopts the shape of the human’s back for maximizing the harvest of
human body heat.

CLAIM RANGE
Claim 1
A heat harvesting backpack which converts body heat to electrical energy, said system comprising
of:
- A flexible thermo-electric generator plates at the back panel of the backpack
- A flexible heat sink
- Wires connecting all nodes of the thermoelectric plates
- Voltage regulator with USB port and voltage display
- A thermal energy storage system component
- Durable-water proof backpack clothing material
- Polyaryletherketone material for the plates for better back-shape adaptation
Claim 2
A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein, the thermoelectric generator that is flexible using a
silicon-fabric based material using screen printing technique.
Claim 3
A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein, thermoelectric plates that will convert the heat released
in the human back and converting to electrical energy.
Claim 4
A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein, the thin and light flexible heat sink will cool the opposite
side of the thermoelectric plate for better electricity production.
Claim 5
A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein, voltage regulator attached in the backpack located in the
upper side corner for easy use in plugging device.
Claim 6
A system as claimed in claim 1 wherein, the material of the backpack will be waterproof to sustain
extreme weather.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION TECHNOLOGY


[0001] It is a heat harvesting backpack which converts body heat to electrical energy essentially
comprising of silicon fabric-based flexible thermo-electric generator plates that are embedded
at the back panel of the backpack with a flexible and lightweight heat sink for heat dissipation.
It also comprised of a polymer technology called Polyaryletherketone that adopts the shape
of the human’s back for maximizing the area for efficient heat harvesting. All energy produced
are stored in an energy storage component for to charge any mobile devices on the go.

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


[0002] Thermoelectric power generator, any of a class of solid-state devices that either convert
heat directly into electricity or transform electrical energy into thermal power for heating or
cooling. Such devices are based on thermoelectric effects involving interactions between the
flow of heat and of electricity through solid bodies.
[0005] In a thermoelectric power generator, a temperature differential between the upper and
lower surfaces of two legs of the device can result in the generation of electric power. If no
electrical load is connected to the generator, the applied heat source power results in a
temperature differential (ΔT) with a value dictated only by the thermal conductivity of the p-
and n-type semiconductor legs and their dimensions. The same amount of heat power will be
extracted at the heat sink. However, because of the Seebeck effect, a voltage Vα = αΔT will be
present at the output terminals. When an electrical load is attached to these terminals, current
will flow through the load. The electrical power generated in the device is equal to the product
of the Seebeck coefficient α, the current I, and the temperature differential ΔT. For a given
temperature differential, the flow of this current causes an increase in the thermal power into
the device equal to the electric power generated. Some of the electric power generated in the
device is dissipated by ohmic heating in the resistances of the two legs. The remainder is the
electrical power output to the load resistance RL.
CONTENT OF THE INVENTION
Problems with the technology
[0010] While studying about the device, the researchers found out some problems of the patent
such as:
a) the efficiency of harvesting heat for generation of electrical energy
b) the ergonomics of the backpack (The researchers must make the backpack
comfortable and lightweight); and
c) the production cost of the backpack. (Is it marketable and sell-able for mass
consumers?)

Means of solving the problems


[0011] Many of the thermoelectric generator wearable devices are focused on direct skin contact
in order to harvest enough heat to produce electricity. One of the solutions we found for the
backpack to function without that direct skin contact is the use of Polyaryletherketone. The
technology boasts a suitable way of enhancing heat transfer so that the product can efficiently
harvest and store heat energy. Its mechanism is to bear on an interim shape and then go back
to its perennial shape in response to an outside impulse. It is an atypical potentiality of
remembering a whole range of different shapes and can induced to change formation in
response to temperature variability.
[0012] Another issue with the invention is the fact that it might be to too heavy with all the
components needed for the thermoelectric generator to function, rendering the backpack
useless. To solve this problem, a fabric-based flexible TE generator using a screen printing
technique and the self-sustaining structure of a TE device without top and bottom substrates could
be used (S J Kim et. al., 2014). Through this, we might be able to make the thermoelectric generator
thin, lightweight and flexible.
[0013] Lastly, there is also the issue of the production cost. It is of primary concern too make the
product as affordable to consumers as possible without sacrificing the quality. However, we
can only do so much in lowering the price since it is a state of the art technology that requires
a lot of components. One of the solutions might be to make the backpack is rooted in its
ergonomics; to design the backpack as simple as possible that there is close to zero waste of
materials. Also basing from the now booming solar technology that has now become
affordable for consumers, silicon could be used since it is abundant and cheap. The Seebeck
coefficient along the edge of the lattice is 466 μV/K (Ci P L, et. al., 2011). Thus, silicon is a
potential material for power generation and refrigeration.

Effects of the invention


[0014] One of the greatest highlights of this patent is its noteworthy effects, economically and
environmentally. This patent will create a number of jobs for local communities. Researchers
and scientists are among the specialists needed for well and potent operations. The patent also
provides a major opportunity for better economic benefits and enhanced energy management
of existing and planned energy assets. Relatively, thermal energy from human body has a high
scalability that it can be appertained to heat derivation of any expanse minimizing the
production cost for electric generation. This idea of using the human body's energy for electric
power generation has allured researchers for years. Recent developments in nanotechnology
engineering guarantee to steer in lots more body-powered devices. The basic technology
behind the concept of turning body heat into electricity is a thermoelectric device. It is usually
a thin conductive material that exploits the temperature difference between its two sides to
generate electricity.
[0015] Considering an environmentally-viable mode of energy production, thermal energy from
human body removes a massive amount of tension from the environment by using a renewable
source. This patent uses no fossil fuels, creates no pollution, and emits no greenhouse gases.
Thermal power is admired by numerous environmentalists because it is completely renewable,
does not use fuel to produce power and has virtually no emissions. It also helps lessen global
warming and pollution and requires far less area for production compared to a coal mine or
oil field.
[0016] The finite accessibility of energy resources augments concern of environmental issues of
emissions and growing international demand for conserving energy as well as the hunt for
technologies of generating electrical power. This patent aims to practically resolve these
issues. Thermal energy have now transpired as a promising alternative green technology
recompensing to their potential to directly convert waste-heat energy into electrical power.
The utilization of this patent in converting body heat energy into electrical power can improve
the comprehensive efficiencies of converting different energy forms.

Brief Description of the Drawing


[0017] The patent consists of seven major components namely (1) thermoelectric plates, (2)
Polyaryletherketone material, (3) thermal energy storage system, (4) 5V Regulator, (5) USB
(6) charging cable; and lastly a (7) flexible heat sink

Polyaryletherketone
Material

Silicon Fabric

N-type and P-type


semiconductor

Flexible heat sink


Detailed Description of the Preparation of the invention
[0018] The proposed thermo-electric generator was fabricated using a flexible silicon printed
circuit board (PCB) as the substrate. The thermo-electric generator has has 200 to 300
thermocouples with P-type and N-type thermoelectric blocks and they were welded onto a
flexible PCB.

Fig. 1. Schematic view of wearable thermoelectric generator from https://www.researchgate.net/


[0019] The TEG has 200 to 300 integrated thermocouples. Both P-type and N-typethermoelectric
blocks have the same square shape with dimensions of 2 mm 2mm 1.5 mm, and were
welded onto the FPCB. The distance between the P-type and N-type elements in one
thermocouple is 1 mm. (H. Liu et al, 2017).
[0020] The modeling of H. Liu et. Al. Of the thermo-electric generator could be used, where the
number of the thermocouple is n, the relative Seebeckcoefficient of the used thermoelectric
material is  (  p  n ) , where ap and an represent the Seebeck coefficients of the N-type and
P-type thermoelectric blocks.The output voltage (V) could be generated as

V  nTG
where  (  p  n ) , TG is the temperature difference between hot and coldjunctions.

For the designed TEG, the analytical loading voltage (VAL)is


RL
VAL  V
RL  RG
where RG and RL are the internal electrical resistance and external loading,respectively.
Then, the output power (P) for the designed TEG can be calculated as
RL
P V 2
( RL  RG ) 2

When RG equals RL, the maximum power (Pmax) can be obtained as


V2 n 2 2
P max   T 2 G
4 RG 4 RG
As in Eqs. (1) and (4), the output voltage (V) and output power (P) can be increased by
increasing the number of TE thermocouples, or reducing the internalelectrical resistance, etc.
The power density (E)defined as the generated output power versus the surfacearea of the
TEG. Thus, Ecan be calculated as
P P
E 
A ab
where a and b are the length and width of the TEG, respectively.
[0006] To enhance heat transfer so that the product can efficiently harvest and store heat energy,
the thermoelectric generator is attached to the back of the bag comprising of
Polyaryletherketone which in theory would follow the shape of the back. Its mechanism is to
bear on an interim shape and then go back to its perennial shape in response to an outside
impulse. It is an atypical potentiality of remembering a whole range of different shapes and
can induced to change formation in response to temperature variability.
[0007] The thermoelectric generator will then be also attached to a gel pack with cooling properties
so that the thermal generator can draw out energy from the temperature difference between
the back and the gel pack.
[0008] Then this generator will be attached to a battery where the generated power will be stored.
The battery is essential so that the generated electricity which can be used to charge the
handheld devices, can still be used even when the backpack is not worn. A deep cycle battery
with a rating of 12 volts will be used, as deep cycle batteries are the type for continuous use.
[0009] The next component to be installed is the DC input device, which allows you to plug in
any DC appliance you should need to power be it a pump, a generator, a stereo, or a television.
A triple inlet DC input will be used. This will be used together with an inverter, which is a
device that is used to convert the energy stored in the battery – DC energy – into more usable
AC power. In
[00010] From H. Liu, an experimental characterization can be done. The performance of the
designed TEG was tested and characterized by using the experimental setup, as shown in Fig.
2 (Kim et al. 2014a, b). The TEG with bottom surface was placed on a heating platform, the
other side was exposed to the air. To reduce the thermal contact resistance, a thin thermal
paste was applied to the contact surface between the TEG and the heating platform. A FPCB
transfer board was designed for the connection of the TEG, it can measure the voltage, current,
and resistance values of the output signals. The internal resistance was measured with the
value of 60 X.
[00011] Then, a thermal infrared (IR) camera (T2 Large infrared thermal imager) was
utilized to measure the temperature difference of the wearable TEG (Francioso et al. 2013).
Figure 3 shows the measured temperature difference of the TEG at Th = 120 °C. Results show
that the TEG can generate a relatively uniform temperature difference.
[00012]

Fig 2. Experimental set-up to characterize TEG performance from https://www.researchgate.net/


[00013]

Fig 3. Thermal camera image of wearable TEG from https://www.researchgate.net/

References:
https://www.britannica.com/technology/thermoelectric-power-generator
https://powerpractical.com/pages/how-do-thermoelectrics-work
https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ee/c4ee00242c#!divAbstract
https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/how-build-solar-power-generator.php
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6627034/metrics#metrics
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep06411
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311998407_Design_of_a_Wearable_Thermoelectric_G
enerator_for_Harvesting_Human_Body_Energy#pf3