Thermoelectric Power Generation (TEG)




About: Ugly pirate roaming the seas in search of Treasure.

These videos document my first attempts at generating electricity from a thermoelectric peltier device in 2012. The TEG that I used is a high powered unit able to withstand high temperatures and specially made for electricity generation.

In terms of instructions, I dont think many people would want to build the 10 TEG system as it was ridiculously expensive, so I'm putting in a section for creating the 1 TEG arrangement, which is relatively easy and low cost.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Part 2 of 3

A ten unit Thermoelectric generator system is shown being constructed and then fitted to a wood burner. The theoretical maximum output is 200 watts. The video shows how the generator was put together and how the wood burner was modified to get maximum heat through the TEGs. The TEGs themselves are able to withstand a constant 325 degrees C on the hot side and require plenty of heat to get the 20 watts that each of them are capable of producing.

Step 2: Part 3 of 3

In part 3 we successfully generate a significant amount of energy from the woodburning stove. In the first session, a circulation pump, a fan and 10 x 10 watt flood lights are powered up. In the second session, we attempt to get a more balanced load wired up to the tegs and measure a noticable increase in power output. The 10 tegs are wired up in 2 parallel strings and, from the manufacturer's specification, the optimum output voltage is 14.4v . The nearest that we manage is 13.8v, at which we generate 120 watts. The specifications suggest that 200 watts is possible when the load is matched.

Step 3: Full Playlist

31 Minutes of Thermoelectric video heaven!

Step 4: Creating the 1 TEG Generator

Here we are going to build the single TEG generator shown in the first video.

Step 5: Tools and Equipment



  • 1/4" threading tap
  • 5 mm metric coarse threading tap
  • Drill 11.5 mm
  • Drill 5.5 mm
  • Drill 4.2 mm
  • Drill press
  • Torque wrench
  • MIG welder
  • Plasma cutter / Grinder with cutting discs

Step 6: Drilling and Tapping the Cooling Block

Use the engineering drawing to produce internal coolant passage ways in the aluminium block. I ended up drilling all the way through to the other side and using more of the 1/4" blanks.

Connect the 1/4" pipe fittings to the block and plumb in the pump. Add antifreeze to the water in the water butt if it's likely to get cold at all.

To create a 'sandwich' with the hot block (steel block), the TEG and the cooling block, drill and tap holes in the steel block for the 5mm bolts.

Weld the hot block into the side of the wood burner and recreate the TEG sandwich, tightening the bolts up with a torque wrench (see attached file).

Connect up LEDs on the TEG, turn on the pump, light the wood burner and off you go!

Step 7: 10 TEG Layout

If you really must build the 10 TEG generator, the photo above shows what is involved. I have got CAD drawings, PCB drawings etc. If anybody is interested. Not for the faint hearted!

If you enjoyed this Instructable, please vote above, top right. Thank you.

Please Vote NOW!

Voting will help save the planet

Make it Glow!

Participated in the
Make it Glow!

MAKE ENERGY: A US-Mexico Innovation Challenge

Participated in the
MAKE ENERGY: A US-Mexico Innovation Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Make it Move

      Make it Move
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest

    11 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Amazing project! Really interested in seeing the PCB drawings like you mentioned towards the end. I would like to design it myself as well. May I please see them?


    4 years ago

    This looks like an awesome project but where's the how to..?

    4 replies
    Just4Fun Mediatlp801

    Reply 4 years ago

    A friend and I built this very efficient Thermoelectric Generator for $7.50.
    It can generate power from a temperature gradient of 5 degrees celsius or greater and can withstand up to 300 degrees celsius before shutting down.

    Please vote for our entry in the instructables contests!

    Have a great day!

    Tecwyn Twmffattlp801

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment. The project was meant to be an evaluation of TEGs rather than something that I'd want as a permanent instalation. I'm not really sure why anybody would want to repeat what I have done on the videos other than 'just for fun'. Hang on a minute .... The 'fun' part sounds lioke a good enough reason on it's own! I'll see what I can do.

    bud_maker_mikeTecwyn Twmffat

    Reply 4 years ago

    Well done! 200 watts! I think this would be great at an off the grid cabin. Produce a little electricity, maybe make a little hot water in the process.

    Yes it would - it's a shame it's so expensive to build - lots of machining - and the TEGs themselves are very pricey at the moment.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've been thinking about doing something like this except using a fresnel lens as the heat source. Have you ever tried doing that? Just curious on how much one of these TED generators would cost..?


    4 years ago

    for the cold block you could drill many holes all the way through and put pipes kn the end to connect them like in a ac condenser


    4 years ago

    Great project - definately looking out for the "how-to"