SBIR Phase I: Flexible Thin-Film Thermoelectric Wearable Energy Harvester

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0946142
Agency Tracking Number: 0946142
Amount: $105,785.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
4314 SW Research Way, Corvallis, OR, 97333
DUNS: 828810197
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Paul McClelland
 (541) 922-3169
Business Contact
 Paul McClelland
Title: PhD
Phone: (541) 922-3169
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate a wearable thermoelectric energy harvesting prototype generating sufficient energy for a wireless transceiver powered by the heat of the human body. The human body generates approximately 20mW/cm2, yet harvesting that power requires complex thermal and electrical optimization. Traditional thermoelectric generator solutions fall short of the voltage necessary for current electronics. This proposal uses an innovative semiconducting materials deposition process, patterning thousands of thermocouples on a flexible polyimide film. Research will determine the optimal geometry of the thermal elements matching the thermal resistance of human body and subsequently spool those elements into a wearable thermal package prototype to achieve higher outputs sufficient to operate a wireless transceiver. The device will deliver energy in a lightweight, space efficient (less than 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.3 inches),and cost effective package. The broader impact/commercial impact of this project will be primarily realized in medical monitoring and personal protective equipment, with additional applications in both military and civilian applications. Wearable thermoelectric generators can replace batteries for the Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) to improve quality of life and aid in preventative medical treatments by wirelessly monitoring physiological data such as EEG and ECG. First responders can use renewable means to power Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) 3?]axis solid state accelerometers for detecting motion. The use of lightweight thermoelectric generators can also reduce the soldier?fs burden of carrying batteries. Wireless and battery free computing/sensing platforms have long been an objective in these domains. Wearable thermoelectric generators can provide the multiple benefits including lower total cost of ownership, continuous availability of critical power, long operating lifetimes (greater than 10 years), zero maintenance, elimination of battery changes/recharging, and reduction of environmental impact with less batteries ending up in landfills.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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