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Available Technology

Sustainable Energy

Thermoelectric generator with time dependent oscillation

Inventors: Dr. Apparao Rao

Market Overview

Modern electronic devices and vehicles lose a significant amount of energy as waste heat. Traditionally, research has focused on harvesting high-grade waste heat, while low-grade heat (below 100˚C) has been largely overlooked. This gap presents an opportunity to develop technologies that can convert low-grade waste heat into usable energy, thus improving energy efficiency and reducing operation costs.


Wearable Sensors, Environmental Sensors, Automotive Heat Scavenging, Wireless Power Transmission, Green Energy Solutions

Technical Summary:

Clemson inventors have developed a thermoelectric generator that utilizes the Soret effect to harvest ultralow-grade waste heat. This innovative device utilizes cellulose from delignified wood, which creates a hierarchical porous structure for ion movement in an aqueous electrolyte. The device achieves a Seebeck coefficient of up to 110 mV/K, significantly higher than previous technologies, allowing it to generate substantial voltage from low-grade waste heat.

This invention has an additional observed feature of a novel thermally rechargeable electrochemical oscillation (TRECO) while discharging the device.  This time-dependent oscillation property has the potential to open new applications beyond what current thermoelectric generators can achieve.


  • High Efficiency: Generates high voltage from ultralow-grade waste heat.
  • Eco-friendly Materials: Utilizes green materials, reducing environmental impact.
  • Versatile Applications: Ideal for powering health monitoring sensors, environmental sensors, and scavenging heat from automotive engines and batteries.
  • Innovative Capabilities: Exhibits thermally rechargeable electrochemical oscillation, even without a temperature gradient.

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Technology Overview

State of Development

TRL 2/3

Patent Type

Provisional Patent Application


Sustainable Energy

CURF Reference No.



Dr. Apparao Rao

For More Info, Contact:

Please put technology ID “2023-017” in the subject line of the email.


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