An overview of commercialization and marketization of thermoelectric generators for low-temperature waste heat recovery

Kuan Ting Lee, Da Sheng Lee, Wei Hsin Chen, Yu Li Lin, Ding Luo, Young Kwon Park, Argel Bandala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


According to statistics, low-temperature waste heat below 300°C accounts for more than 89% of industrial waste heat. If the waste heat is not recycled, a large amount of low-temperature waste heat will be released into the atmosphere, thereby exacerbating global warming and posing a significant threat to human survival. Although the power generation efficiency of solid-state thermoelectric generation technology is lower than the organic Rankine cycle, it only requires a smaller construction area, which increases its market acceptance, applicability, and penetration. Especially in the pursuit of net-zero emissions by global companies, the importance of low-temperature waste heat recovery and power generation is even more prominent. The current thermoelectric conversion efficiency of commercial thermoelectric chips is about 5%. Power generation cost, thermoelectric conversion efficiency, and energy use efficiency are highly correlated with the commercialization of solid-state thermoelectric technology. This research shares five practical waste heat power generation cases commercialized by recycling three heat sources. It also points out the three significant challenges facing the commercialization of power generation from low-temperature waste heat recovery. This study analyzes 2,365 TEG patents submitted by 28 companies worldwide to determine the basic technology for realizing waste heat recovery through TEG and explore the potential commercialization of related waste heat recovery products. The future challenge for the large-scale commercialization of solid-state thermoelectric technology is not technological development but financial incentives related to changes in international energy prices and subsidies that promote zero carbon emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107874
Issue number10
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2023


  • Economics
  • Materials science
  • Physics


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