RECREATE! : Recycling Energy of Computers for Real Efficiency And Total Energy!
*Project by Sarthak Sethi and Geeve George
*We have been selected for the MAKE ENERGY Contest! So do vote for us by clicking vote in the Top-Right corner of the instructable page!
*This is an updated version of Our Previous Instructable , which can be found at :
" Recycling Processor Heat". With this technology, waste heat released by the computer processor heat is converted into Electrical energy.
To achieve this we use Peltier Modules. We use the heat released from the processor of the laptop on one side of module, and on the other side is the cool ambient air. Because of the temperature difference electricity is generated which can be u sed to charge a mobile or run a USB computer fan.
This project can be to save electricity and the environment. We believe that the project can be further developed to increase the efficiency of heat conversion to electricity and save about 30-40% of the battery’s lifetime.
This Project can have a wider impact when put in use with the Huge and Bulky Supercomputers , using this technology can generate large amounts electricity which is Economically Feasible , Technologically Accessible and Socially Acceptable!
Step 1: The Problem!
All over the world, 80 percent of the people use a computer! And all these computers release processor heat. Why cant we use this for Sustainable energy?
The cost for the setup of photo-voltaic systems is quite expensive when compared with Peltier Modules , so using peltier modules in homes to recycle the heat released by the personal computers can have a huge impact as it is affordable.
The supercomputers of the 21st century use over 100,000 processors due to which a large amount of heat is generated. Converting this large amounts of heat with proper cooling by the principle of the Seebeck effect can be used to generate a huge amount of electricity! This can have a huge impact and this is how future cities will look like!
Step 2: Solution!
In a peltier module, when one side is heated and other is cooled, through the temperature difference it generates electricity.
We calculated the area below the laptop and calculated the area needed to recycle energy. This project has generated about 1.2V in the first build! This voltage was enough to run a USB computer fan. We took 12 peltier tiles and placed them on a top of a Gel pack , which was placed under the laptop. If this technology is further developed, we can save over 50%-70% of the battery life and thus save electricity. Pieltiers Usually is used as a thermoelectric cooler. When voltage is applied across its terminal temperature gradient is produced on the surface. It can also produce electricity by provide temperature difference across its surface we can generate power from a temperature differential on the sides. Reverse engineering the Peltier effect is very efficient. To generate this differential, a Fresnel lens focuses light on one side of the Peltier and it becomes warm enough. The other side is attached with heat sink which makes the side cool. Greater the temperature difference greater will be output voltage. Focusing the suns heat to the peltiers using Fresnel lens is one of the best way to increase the efficiency of the peltier module. This can make a huge impact if used in the Server Rooms and with the huge and bulky supercomputers!
Step 3: Hardware Setup!
Materials Required :
1) A Gel Pack
2) TEC Peltier Modules
3) A set of wires
4) A Laptop
5) A USB computer Fan
How does this project work?
Firstly, We need a heating source and secondly we need a cooling source. In my case, the laptop's processor is the heating source and the Gel pack is the cooling source.The electricity is generated by the peltier tiles which are placed across temperature difference between the bottom of the laptop, which is hot and the ambient air which has a moderate temperature.
When the heat is transferred from the laptop to the gel pack, electrons flow and generate electricity.
*Refer the first and second picture detailed hardware setup!
Step 4: Building the Circuits!
In this step, we will join all Peltier modules together and connect everything together.
Now place the peltier tiles on the Gel pack. Connect them using wires in series. The peltier tiles should be placed in such a arrangement that it covers all the area of the gel pack.
*Refer Picture for the Circuit Setup!
Step 5: USB Fan Connection!
Firstly connect the voltmeter to check if the current is flowing.
Now, Connect the laptop pin and the fan to the circuit. Make sure they are in parallel to each other.
Step 6: Tests and Results!
Now, place your laptop above the peltier tiles just as shown in the video. Now your fan would run.
You can also charge your laptop by connecting the laptop pin to the circuit.
Congratulations! Now you are one of the person to successfully recycle computers processor heat and turn it into electricity!
Results on MultiMeter! :
** Refer the second picture!
We tested the project when the temperature of the laptop was high and when it was low. Temperature Difference (T1 - T2) 17C 25C 35C 48C 58C 79C Voltage 0.76V 1.2V 1.9V 2.2V 2.4V 4.02V
Now we calculated that how much efficient was our project to save power.
So we found that it saved about 30%-40% of the laptops power. Conclusion In conclusion, we succeeded in generating electricity from the heat released by the processor.
We have tested our project several times and this is the proof Proof- Main power supply- 100% in 4 Hours --1 Recycled Heat supply- 36% in 4 Hours --2 Adding both (1+2)- 136% So 100% charged in 2.7 Hours
Step 7: Practical Application!
The main reason we chose thermo-eletric generation is because it is economically feasible , technologically accessible and socially acceptable. Photo-Voltaic methods are not as feasible as peltiers. Photo-voltaic solar panels are expensive for the population in general to afford , instead an efficient and feasible way is using peltier tiles that are in the acme to success for the future of sustainable energy.
A thermo Electric Module i.e. a 60 W 40mm x 40mm x 3.6mm Peltier Module costs only 2$! That is what we used in our project to recycle the heat from a laptops processor and convert it to electricity that powered a USB Fan , all of this was achieved with the valuable piece of hardware that can revolutionize sustainable energy.
In server rooms also in organizations with supercomputers there are many methods to reduce the heat generated by these machines , here peltier’s can play an important role. To generate electricity we need a difference of temperature on either sides of the peltier module. Therefore even if there are methods to stabilize the heat of the machines using cooling techniques , we can exploit / use the hot surface of the machines and the cool temperature of the room to generate electricity.
The only potential barrier that exists is achieving the right temperature difference on either sides of the peltier ( The side in contact with the surface of the electronic device and the side exposed to the room / outside environment).According to our research we found that the general server room temperature is between 10°C - 28°C.Most server rooms use centralized air conditioners to cool the room , therefore placing a peltier on the surface of the machine ( Hot side) and the other side of the peltier is exposed to the cool air , implementing this setup in all the machines of the server room can be the best and most efficient way to generate electricity for utility.
This project can achieve success only if the important people of the society and companies realize the true potential of this technology and the ways through which it can be reverse engineered to make it more efficient.