Working of Geothermal Power Plant
Panasonic’s advancement in geothermal technology could prove to be a boon for the industry trying to find new renewable power sources. The Japanese company has developed thermoelectric tubes particularly suitable for sources such as steam and hot water. The new tubes’ tubular shape will make them easy to scale up and implement compared to the difficulties faced during the implementation of conventional thermoelectric generators planar shapes. An unconventional phenomenon called a transverse thermoelectric effect, which happens in tilted multilayer made of thermally-resistive thermoelectric materials and thermally-conductive metals, helps overcome conventional thermoelectric limitations generators. The new tubular shape facilitates efficient and direct heat transfer without extra heat exchangers, thus efficiently generating high-density power. Panasonic’s new thermoelectric tubes can be efficiently utilized as a solution for capturing unused or wasted heat from factories and hot springs.
A new progression in simulation technology to reinvent the tube’s design per the surroundings and to maximize the output makes it possible to control heat flow and electric current separately in materials. The tube invented by Panasonic is made up of nickel for the metal and stacked conical rings of bismuth telluride for the thermoelectric material. Depending on the amount of heat source and size of the tube, the power generated will differ. Panasonic has worked out processing technologies in fabricating conical rings of brittle thermoelectric materials and bonding rings with minimum parasitic electric and thermal losses.
The 10 centimetres tube developed on the technologies mentioned above can generate 1.3W electricity by running 90°C hot water inside and 10°C cold water. The power density equalizes to as much as 10 kW with only 1 m3 of volume. Panasonic holds 29 domestic patents and 12 overseas patents in the geothermal field.