With the increasing demand for Internet of Things (IoT) with integrated wireless sensor networks (WSNs), sustainable power supply and management have become important issues to be addressed. Thermal energy in forms of waste heat or metabolic heat is a promising source for reliably supplying power to electronic devices; for instance, thermoelectric power generators are widely being researched as they are able to convert thermal energy into electricity. This paper specifically looks over the application of thermoelectricity as a sustainable power source for IoT including WSNs. Also, we discuss a few thermoelectric systems capable of operating electronic skin (e-skin) sensors despite their low output power from body heat. For a more accurate analysis on body heat harvesting, models of the human thermoregulatory system have been investigated. In addition, some clever designs of heat sinks that can be integrated with thermoelectric systems have also been introduced. For their power management, the integration with a DC–DC converter is addressed to boost its low output voltage to a more usable level.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (NRF-2015R1A5A1036133 & NRF-2018K1A3A1A20026439).
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)