Thermoelectricity is a new potential energy source for drones

No wonder the Army is so excited about thermoelectric technology, it’s the perfect energy scavenging system for those new surveillance drones you’ve been reading so much about.

With a high power density and freedom from maintenance due to their lack of moving parts, thermoelectric systems are lightweight, durable, miniaturizable and above all, silent. As for matching the technology with the temperature extremes that lend themselves to thermoelectric conversion, Army surveillance drones are perfect for that, too. Come to think of it, just about any kind of drone is. Run for the hills!
Army surveillance drones could use thermoelectric technology

When exposed to heat on one side and cold on the other, certain materials create an electrical charge, and that’s the basic idea behind thermoelectric systems.

In the context of President Obama’s climate speech earlier this week, thermoelectricity could play a huge role in the transition to advanced energy systems. In addition to lending itself to harvesting waste energy from moving vehicle tailpipes, thermoelectricity can be used to recapture energy from stationary sources such as factory equipment, power generating facilities and elevator motors. There are numerous potential applications in outer space as well.

The Obama Administration is already all over thermoelectric research with the launch of a massive, sprawling initiative involving several federal laboratories and academic research institutes.

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