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Hybrid generator using thermoelectric generation and piezoelectric generation

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Hybrid generator using thermoelectric generation and piezoelectric generation


A hybrid generator using a thermoelectric generation and a piezoelectric generation are provided. The hybrid generator includes first and second insulating layers spaced apart from each other; a thermoelectric structure disposed between the first and second insulating layers; a first electrode disposed on the second insulating layer; a piezoelectric structure disposed on the first electrode; a third insulating layer disposed on the piezoelectric structure; and a second electrode disposed on the third insulating layer.
Related Terms: Electrode Piezoelectric Piezo

Browse recent Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. patents - Suwon-si, GA, KR
USPTO Applicaton #: #20140174496 - Class: 136224 (USPTO) -
Batteries: Thermoelectric And Photoelectric > Thermoelectric >Thermopile

Inventors: Young-jun Park, Zhong-lin Wang, Sang-min Lee

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140174496, Hybrid generator using thermoelectric generation and piezoelectric generation.

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BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present disclosure relates to generators, and more particularly, to hybrid generators using thermoelectric generation and piezoelectric generation.

2. Description of the Related Art

In recent years, techniques for harvesting energy have received much interest and have been the focus of research. Among devices for harvesting energy, a piezoelectric generator is an environmentally-friendly energy generating device able to harvest energy by converting a mechanical energy generated by wind or fine vibration existing in surrounding environment or movement of a human body into an electric energy. Also, with the development of nanotechnology, studies to develop a flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator using a nanosystem have been undertaken. Since thermal energy as well a mechanical energy are generated in a surrounding environment, technology to harvest an electric energy from the mechanical energy and the thermal energy is needed.

SUMMARY

Exemplary embodiments provide hybrid generators using thermoelectric generation and piezoelectric generation.

According to an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, there is provided a hybrid generator including: first and second insulating layers spaced apart from each other; a thermoelectric structure disposed between the first and second insulating layers; a first electrode disposed on the second insulating layer; a piezoelectric structure disposed on the first electrode; a third insulating layer disposed on the piezoelectric structure; and a second electrode disposed on the third insulating layer.

The hybrid generator may further include a heat conductive substrate provided with a first insulating layer.

The first, second and third insulating layers may include an insulator polymer, such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The first, second and third insulating layers may have a thickness of not more than about 2 μm.

The thermoelectric structure may include a plurality of p-type semiconductor structures and a plurality of n-type semiconductor structures. The plurality of p-type structures and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures may be arranged horizontally or vertically with respect to the first insulating layer. The plurality of p-type structures and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures may be connected by a conductor. At this time, the conductor may be bonded to the plurality of p-type structures and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures by a ductile solder.

The plurality of p-type structures and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures may include at least one selected from the group consisting of Bi, Sb, Se, and Te.

The first electrode may be a flexible and conductive substrate. For example, the first electrode may be a metal substrate or a conductive polymer substrate. The first electrode may have a thickness of not more than about 500 μm.

The first electrode may be disposed on a flexible plastic substrate. The first electrode may include a metal, a conductive polymer or graphene.

The piezoelectric structure may include a plurality of piezoelectric nanowires. The piezoelectric nanowire may include ZnO, ZnSnO3, or SnO. A fourth insulating layer may be disposed between the piezoelectric nanowires and the first electrode. The fourth insulating layer may include an insulator polymer. Herein, the fourth insulating layer may have a thickness of not more than about 2 μm. A seed layer may be disposed between the piezoelectric nanowires and the first insulating layer.

The piezoelectric structure may include a piezoelectric thin layer. The piezoelectric thin layer may include ZnO, ZnSnO3, SnO, BaTiO3, PZT or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). A fourth insulating layer may be further disposed between the piezoelectric thin layer and the first electrode.

According to an aspect of another exemplary embodiment, there is provided a hybrid generator including: a thermoelectric generator; and a piezoelectric generator disposed on the thermoelectric generator.

The thermoelectric generator may include first and second insulating layers spaced apart from each other, and a thermoelectric structure disposed between the first and second insulating layers, and the piezoelectric generator may include a first electrode disposed on the second insulating layer, a piezoelectric structure disposed on the first electrode, a third insulating layer disposed on the piezoelectric structure, and a second electrode disposed on the third insulating layer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and/or other aspects will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hybrid generator according to an exemplary embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a partially cut-away perspective view of the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 shows a modified example of the first electrode shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 schematically shows electron flow in the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an image of a hybrid generator according to an exemplary embodiment;

FIG. 7A shows measurement results of current generated by a temperature difference and a mechanical vibration in the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 7B shows measurement results of voltage generated by a temperature difference and a mechanical vibration in the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an image of the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 6 installed on an arm skin so as to confirm an energy harvesting from temperature and movement of a human body;

FIG. 9A shows measurement results of current generated from a hybrid generator by a movement of an arm and a skin temperature in the status shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 9B shows measurement results of voltage generated from a hybrid generator by a movement of an arm and a skin temperature in the status shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of a hybrid generator according to another exemplary embodiment;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of a hybrid generator according to another exemplary embodiment; and

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of a hybrid generator according to another exemplary embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to the like elements throughout. In this regard, the present embodiments may have different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the descriptions set forth herein. Accordingly, the embodiments are merely described below, by referring to the figures, to explain aspects of the present description. Expressions such as “at least one of,” when preceding a list of elements, modify the entire list of elements and do not modify the individual elements of the list.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hybrid generator 100 according to an exemplary embodiment. FIG. 2 is a partially cut-away perspective view of the hybrid generator 100 shown in FIG. 1, and FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the hybrid generator 100 shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3, the hybrid generator 100 includes a thermoelectric generator 110 and a piezoelectric generator 120 disposed on the thermoelectric generator 110. The thermoelectric generator 110 includes first and second insulating layers 112 and 113 spaced apart from each other, and a thermoelectric structure 115 disposed between the first and second insulating layers 112 and 113. Herein, the first insulating layer 112 may be disposed on a heat conductive substrate 111. The heat conductive substrate 111 may include a flexible material having superior heat conductivity. The heat conductive substrate 111 may include various materials as well as a metal, such as Al, Cu, Au, or Ag.

The first and second insulating layers 112 and 113 may include a flexible material. For example, the first and second insulating layers 112 and 113 may include an insulator polymer, such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The first insulating layer 112 may have, but is not necessarily limited to, a thickness of about 2 μm (more specifically not more than about 200 nm). The thermoelectric structure 115 may include a material that generates an electric energy by a temperature difference. The thermoelectric structure 115 may include a plurality of p-type semiconductor structures 115a, and a plurality of n-type semiconductor structures 115b. The plurality of p-type structures 115a and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures 115b may be arranged horizontally or vertically with respect to the first insulating layer 112. The plurality of p-type semiconductor structures 115a and the plurality of n-type semiconductor structures 115b may include at least one of Bi, Sb, Se, and Te. For example, the p-type semiconductor structure may include BiSbTe3, and the n-type semiconductor structure 115b may include BI2Te2.7Se0.3. The p-type and n-type semiconductor structures 115a and 115b may be connected by a conductor 118. For example, the p-type and n-type semiconductor structures 115a and 115b may be connected in series. A surface of the conductor 118 may be coated with an insulating material. A solder 117 for connection with the conductor 118 may be provided to the p-type and n-type semiconductor structures 115a and 115b. Herein, a ductile solder, such as an InSn solder may be used as the solder 117 to materialize the flexible thermoelectric generator 110 having superior thermoelectric characteristics.

The piezoelectric generator 120 includes first and second electrodes 121 and 122 spaced apart from each other, a piezoelectric structure disposed on the first electrode 121, and a third insulating layer 125 interposed between the piezoelectric structure and the second electrode 122. The first electrode 121 is disposed on the second insulating layer 113. The first electrode 121 may function as an electrode of the piezoelectric generator 120 and at the same time as a heat conductive plate of the thermoelectric generator 110. Therefore, the first electrode 121 may be a flexible substrate including an electrically conductive and thermally conductive material. For example, the first electrode may be a metal substrate or a conductive polymer substrate. The metal substrate may include at least one of Al, Cu, Au, and Ag. However, the above-mentioned materials are only exemplary, and the metal substrate may include various metal materials as well as the above-mentioned materials. The first insulating layer 121 may have, but is not necessarily limited to, a thickness of not more than about 500 μm (more specifically not more than about 50 μm).

As shown in FIG. 4, a first electrode 121′ may be disposed on a flexible plastic substrate 121″. Herein, the plastic substrate 121″ may have a thickness of not more than about 500 μm (more specifically not more than about 50 μm). In this case, the first electrode 121′ may include a conductive material, such as a metal, a conductive polymer, or graphene.

A piezoelectric structure is disposed on the first electrode 121. Specifically, a plurality of piezoelectric nanowires 126 are arranged on the first electrode 121. Herein, the piezoelectric nanowires 126 may be arranged vertically or at a predetermined angle on the first electrode 121. The piezoelectric nanowire 126 may include a material generating a piezoelectric potential at both ends thereof by a deformation. For example, the piezoelectric nanowire 126 may be a ZnO nanowire, a ZnSnO3 nanowire, a SnO nanowire, or the like. However, the piezoelectric nanowire 126 is not limited thereto. A seed layer (see 324 of FIG. 11) may be provided on the first electrode 121 on which the piezoelectric nanowires 126 are formed. The seed layer is used for facilitating growth of the piezoelectric nanowires 126, and may include at least one of, but not limited to, ZnO, Zn, ZnSnO3, SnO, Sn, and Au.

A third insulating layer 125 is disposed on the piezoelectric nanowires 126. Herein, the third insulating layer 125 may be coated so as to cover the piezoelectric nanowires 126. The third insulating layer 125 may be disposed so as to fill spaces between the piezoelectric nanowires 126. Although FIG. 3 exemplarily shows that the third insulating layer 125 fills upper portions of spaces between the piezoelectric nanowires 126, it will be also possible that the third insulating layer 125 is provided so as to fill all the spaces between the piezoelectric nanowires 126. The third insulating layer 125 prevents a short circuit between the first electrode 121 and the second electrode 122. The third insulating layer 125 may include, but is not limited to, for example, an insulator polymer, such as PMMA, or the like. The thickness of the third insulating layer 125 (specifically, the thickness of the third insulating layer 125 between a top surface of the piezoelectric nanowire 126 and a bottom surface of the second electrode 122) may be about 2 μm or less (more concretely, about 200 nm or less). The second electrode 122 is disposed on the third insulating layer 125. The second electrode 122 may include a conductive material, such as a metal, graphene, a conductive polymer, or the like.

FIG. 5 schematically shows electron flow generated in the hybrid generator 100 shown in FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 5, when a pressure is applied to the piezoelectric generator 120 of the hybrid generator 100 or the pressure applied to the piezoelectric generator 120 is released, current is generated by the piezoelectric generator 120 and the current generated thus may be applied to a load 150. Also, when a temperature difference is generated in the thermoelectric generator 110 of the hybrid generator 100, current is generated by the thermoelectric generator 110 and the current generated thus may be applied to the load. Further, it is also possible to store the current generated by the piezoelectric generator 120 and the thermoelectric generator 110 in a capacitor.

As described above, the hybrid generator 100 according to the present embodiment may obtain an electric energy by using heat flow due to a temperature difference, and obtain an electric energy by using a deformation of the piezoelectric generator 120 due to a mechanical force. Thus, the electric energy may be harvested from the thermal energy and the mechanical energy existing in the surrounding environment. Also, the flexible hybrid generator 100 may be implemented by using the substrate and electrode made of a flexible material. In general, the thermoelectric generator has characteristics of high output current and low output voltage, while the piezoelectric generator has characteristics of low output current and high output voltage. The hybrid generator 100 according to the present embodiment may generate a complementary effect of the characteristics of the thermoelectric generator 110 and the characteristics of the piezoelectric generator 120 to thus enhance the efficiency of the harvested energy.

FIG. 6 is an image of a hybrid generator 100 according to an exemplary embodiment. In the hybrid generator 100 shown in FIG. 6, aluminum (Al) is used as a material for the heat conductive substrate 111 and the first and second electrodes 121 and 122, and PMMA is used as a material for the first, second and third insulating layers 112, 113 and 125. A ZnO nanowire is used as the piezoelectric nanowire 126.

FIGS. 7A and 7B respectively show current measurement results and voltage measurement results generated by a temperature difference and a mechanical vibration in the hybrid generator 100 shown in FIG. 6. Specifically, FIGS. 7A and 7B show results measured when a temperature difference between the first and second insulating layers 112 and 113 is about 3° C. and a pressure of about 10 kPa is applied to the piezoelectric nanowires 126 and then the applied pressure is released. In FIGS. 7A and 7B, ‘HC’ indicates the hybrid generator 100, and ‘NG’ and ‘TG’ indicate the piezoelectric generator 120 and the thermoelectric generator 110, respectively, constituting the hybrid generator 100.

In general, when the thermoelectric generator is converted from “On” state to “Off” state, or from “Off” state to “On” state, the output current varies sharply, but the variation of the output voltage is insignificant. That is, the thermoelectric generator has the characteristics of high output current and low output voltage. In general, when the piezoelectric generator is converted from “On” state to “Off” state, or from “Off” state to “On” state, the variation of the output current is insignificant, but the output voltage varies sharply. That is, the piezoelectric generator has the characteristics of low output current and high output voltage.

Referring to FIGS. 7A and 7B, it may be seen that the thermoelectric generator TG of the hybrid generator HC has the characteristics of high output current and low output voltage and the piezoelectric generator NG of the hybrid generator HC has the characteristics of low output current and high output voltage. In the hybrid generator according to the present embodiment, it may be also seen that the characteristics of the thermoelectric generator and the characteristics of the characteristics of the piezoelectric generator are not cancelled out but have a complementary effect. Therefore, the efficiency of the energies harvested from the hybrid generator may be enhanced.

FIG. 8 is an image of the hybrid generator shown in FIG. 6 installed on an arm skin so as to confirm an energy harvesting by temperature and movement of a human body. FIGS. 9A and 9B respectively show current measurement results and voltage measurement results generated from the hybrid generator 100 by a movement of an arm and a skin temperature in the state shown in FIG. 8. Specifically, FIGS. 9A and 9B show results measured when in the state that the hybrid generator is installed on an arm skin, the arm is periodically moved. Referring to FIGS. 9A and 9B, it may be seen that the hybrid generator according to the present embodiment is able to generate complementary current and voltage by a movement of a hand and a temperature difference between a skin and the surrounding environment.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of a hybrid generator according to another exemplary embodiment. This embodiment will be described centered on different features from those of the above-described embodiment.

Referring to FIG. 10, the hybrid generator 200 includes a thermoelectric generator 210 and a piezoelectric generator 220 disposed on the thermoelectric generator 210. The thermoelectric generator 210 includes first and second insulating layers 212 and 213 spaced apart from each other, and a thermoelectric structure 215 interposed between the first and second insulating layers 212 and 213. Herein, the first insulating layer 212 may be disposed on a heat conductive substrate 211, which may include a flexible material with superior heat conductivity.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20140174496 A1
Publish Date
06/26/2014
Document #
13723458
File Date
12/21/2012
USPTO Class
136224
Other USPTO Classes
310339, 977948
International Class
/
Drawings
11


Electrode
Piezoelectric
Piezo


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