Thermoelectric Generator Project




About: My name is Babak Eshghi and I am currently operating, a retail and wholesale distributor of science education products, based in Clifton, NJ.

The Thermoelectric Generator is an experimental kit which demonstrates the direct conversion of heat into electrical energy using the Seebeck effect.The key component is the Peltier module that will be sandwiched between the two metal cans. As long as there is a substantial temperature differential between the two sides of the Peltier element, sufficient electricity will be generated to power the electric motor to turn the propeller.


Step 1: Step 1:

Kit contents include:

(2) Metal Cans
23" Tie Strap
Thermal Grease
4" Propeller
DC Motor Round
Thermoelectric Generator
10" Velcro Hook & Loop Strips (must be cut to size)

You will also need:
Hot & Cold Water

Step 2:

Begin by placing the cans face to face (notice yellow labels). Center the thermoelectric generator on one of the cans so that you can position and stick the hook & look strips to the cans.

Step 3:

Apply thermal grease like pictured so that when you sandwich the thermoelectric generator between the two cans, it will have thermal grease on both sides.

Step 4:

View of Front & Back

Step 5:

Connect the propeller to the motor shaft.

Step 6:

Cut a small piece of the hook strip to place on the side (opposite side of thermoelectric generator) of the "COLD" can. Cut another small piece of the loop strip to place behind the motor.

Step 7:

Remove the motor with propeller so that you can put the tie strap around the two cans to secure them with less difficulty.

Step 8:

Connect black motor wire with black thermoelectric generator wire. Connect red motor wire with red thermoelectric generator wire.

Step 9:

Pour in your cold water to fill up 75% of the "Cold" can and then pour hot water to fill up 75% of the "Hot" can.

Step 10:

Since the thermoelectric generator works from temperature differentials, using a glass alcohol thermometer, you can measure the temperature of both hot and cold liquids and see at which temperatures the propeller will start and then stop spinning . It may take a few minutes so record the time as well.



    • IoT Challenge

      IoT Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    23 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago on Step 10

    Where cans available ???


    11 months ago

    Do you have any recommendation for your project sir? Because I like your project sir, then I want it to enhance.


    3 years ago

    Can we use the TEG for charging a phone by using the heat produced by the phone itself?

    2 replies

    The three-dimensional photovoltaic system is already on sale, is up to 20 times more efficient than a conventional solar panel. A major revolution in the production of solar energy, especially for those who have little space available.

    The first manufacturer to sell this system is called Sun-Säule.

    More information

    Not with a phone...There needs to be sufficient temperature differential between the hot and cold sides. Phone wouldn't get that hot (at least you would hope not) and what would you use for the cold side?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, cool project.

    Does it matter which side of the Thermoelectric Generator faces the hot side?

    Also, did you measure how much electricity was generated?

    I fancy trying this out for myself!



    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    to mickjazz29
    I did some research into peltier modules during my senior research last year. It does seem matter which side of the Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) faces hot/cold. The TEG has a hot side and a cold side. the easiest way to find it when the TEG module is unlabeled is to hook a battery up and feel which side gets warm, then take a sharpy and mark the sides when you test them, otherwise you will forget as soon as you set the module down. However: CAUTION! DO NOT run a peltier module without a heatsink on the hot side.
    Also, you will find if you search them out, that there is a difference between a peltier cooling/heating module (kinda cheap) and a Thermoelectric Generator (quite expensive). In my research I didn't determine what the performance difference was between the two types. also my research ended up changing to solar PV encapsulation, so I stopped fiddling with TEGs.

    To ScienceKitStore, I enjoyed the instructable! I think TEG has a huge future in energy production, so I get excited to see people work with them.


    Thank you for your input, your information was accurate and useful. I agree that TEG and TEC(oolers) have a bright future.

    Just4Fun Media

    3 years ago

    Great instructable! I built a similar system that is self powered off of a computers waste heat! And I was able to reach core tempatures of 4.2 degrees Celsius!

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    First off, excellent job with this. This is an important contribution you've made, IMHO.
    It's important because it opens the door to generate a useful amount of electricity at the home user level from simple heat sources, like concentrated solar and/or fire, which many people have ready access to. Using a heat-carrier fluid to bring a high temperature heat source to a temperature-sensitive Peltier without damaging the module was brilliant.

    Here's one quick way this setup might work for more output: replace the Peltier with a real TEG module with a max working temperature of 350 degrees F (more expensive, but higher working temperature and higher output), heat thermal oil instead of water to reach 350 F without creating steam, and heat that oil with a renewable source of heat, like an efficient stove (rocket stove) and/or use the sun to heat it with a parabolic reflector or Fresnel lens. Pour hot oil in hot side and cool water in the cold side and it should work. Both sides would need periodic refilling to maintain the delta, but no one claimed this was a free ride.

    To ensure oil is at the correct temperature before pouring into the hot side, use a thermometer to check it while heating. Remove the oil from heat source when desired temperature is reached. That should ensure you do not burn out your Peltier or TEG module by overheating, assuming you know your module's max working temperature.

    I'm sure that idea will attract detractors, but it should still work despite the many reasons it just can't possibly.

    Again, nice job with this.

    Learning about alternative energy and therefore expanding our minds. Similar to learning about solar energy. In order to come up with new ideas or invent something, I believe we should have a good understanding and groundwork.


    4 years ago

    Very interesting project!!! What was the voltage output from your experiment? Would it be able to charge something like a battery pack, or a cell phone?

    1 reply

    Thanks! Just recorded the temperatures at which power was generated. I will do another run and use a multimeter to see but don't think it'll be enough to charge a cell phone.


    4 years ago

    Could you give us an idea of the size peltier unit, temperature difference of the water and voltage / current? Did you try adding ice to the water?