Thermoelectric Devices Market Overview 2015 – 2023
Machines and vehicles can generate surprisingly high amounts of heat that escapes into the air, resulting in the wastage of energy. In fact, in the United States alone, about 50% of all of the country’s energy is wasted in the form of heat dissipating into air. Thermoelectric devices can transform heat to power (by converting temperature differences to electrical energy) – an attribute that makes them suited for applications where heat is produced by a device as a byproduct and ends up dissipating into the air.
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The power produced by thermoelectric devices can be ploughed back into the same application or stored for use in the future. Thermoelectric devices are also referred to as energy harvesting devices. It is thus evident that as awareness spreads about harnessing thermal energy produced from electronics, vehicles, and heavy machinery, the global thermoelectric devices market will gather momentum.
The thermoelectric devices market features companies such as Gentherm, KELK Ltd., Evident Thermoelectrics, II-VI Marlow, Inc., Romny Scientific, Inc., Perpetua Power Source Technologies, Inc., and others.
Compact Form Factor and Seamless Integration Dictate Thermoelectric Devices
Players in the global thermoelectric devices market increasingly find themselves modifying their products to suit the fast evolving needs of consumers across industry verticals. Major application areas of thermoelectric devices are healthcare, WSN, consumer goods, military and aerospace, and industrial machinery.
Considerable time and resources are being invested in thermoelectric device innovations expanding the current application base markedly. For instance, a recent project at the Delft University of Technology has used coupled quantum dots for energy harvesting. More such projects will aid the expansion of the global thermoelectric devices market by adding to the existing functionalities of such devices. Besides form factor, other physical attributes of thermoelectric devices, such as their stretchability and flexibility are becoming integral too.
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Automotive Sector Takes Lead in Thermoelectric Devices
The automotive sector represents a massive opportunity for players in the thermoelectric devices market. Vehicles generate large amounts of power that can be harvested using thermoelectric devices. Companies such as Volvo, Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW have been early movers in this area, having collaborated with NASA to develop heat recovery and harvesting systems that can be deployed in vehicles. These systems are being separately developed by each major player and will likely be seen in their on-road models soon. While the specifics of these systems are not yet known, these auto majors have stated that they expect an improvement of at least three percent in the fuel economy of vehicles with the use of a thermoelectric device.
Besides the automotive sector, electronics are known to generate considerable amounts of energy as a byproduct of their operation. Servers, for instance, generate a great amount of heat that can be harvested and re-used in other applications. Besides affording economy, such systems will also help reduce carbon emissions.
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2015 estimates show that worldwide, there are at least 300 laboratories engaged in R&D pertaining to thermoelectric devices. Countries such as China, Korea, and the United States enjoy a leading position in the global thermoelectric devices market. It is thus expected that the market for thermoelectric devices will largely be concentrated in these national markets.
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