I was wondering if anyone had any experience with thermopile generators?
If the term is foreign (it was to me), it is an array of thermocouples used to generate current from heat.
Atomic, I know that NASA has used them for decades in spacecraft, especially those headed out away from the Sun. The Voyager craft are powered by atomic-heated thermopiles.
Yup, and I know that is getting harder to do. The highly enriched plutonium required to make them work is not very friendly:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-grossman/obama-seeks-to-revive-spa_b_625356.html . That said waste head is exhausted from many processes, and I don't think thermopiles need to be efficient for a savings in many applications.
Where did the rest of this cool thread go?
Thermo-electric generators do work, but a fairly LARGE temperature DIFFERENCE is required for decent power output, something around 300 degrees temperature differnce or better!--I have a thermo-electric power generator, made by TELEDYNE, it is powered by propane, and can charge 12 or 24 volt batteries. One side of the thermocouple array is heated by the combustion of the propane, the other is cooled by the ambient air, giving a wide temperature difference.