Thermoelectric modules for waste heat recovery

Cost-effective module production plays a key role in the economic utilization of waste heat to generate electricity using thermoelectric generators. Fraunhofer IPM has extensive expertise in the field of thermoelectric materials such as bismuth telluride and half-Heusler alloys. On this basis, we produce thermoelectric modules in a wide variety of sizes and designs: from the preparation of so-called thermoelectric legs to the finished module. An extremely stable assembly and connection technology for half-Heusler-based modules is of particular note.

Assembly and connection technology according to the type of thermoelectric modules

Depending on the application, the structure of thermoelectric modules greatly differs: Special modules with extremely small leg thickness and overall thickness are primarily suitable for cooling and temperature control, as they make a high heat throughput possible. For generator technology, on the other hand, the leg length must be optimized for minimal heat loss. Depending on the temperature range, a suitable assembly and connection technology is required to withstand stresses caused by temperature fluctuations over longer periods without incurring any damage.

We manufacture small series of free-form thermoelectric modules, including for the high-temperature range, on our in-house module production line. We can examine custom-made modules as well as commercially available modules for you.

As part of the development, Fraunhofer IPM ist working on:

  • Preparation of thermoelectric »legs«
  • Soldering techniques for coupling to the heat transfer medium
  • Reduction of electrical contact resistances
  • Optimization of module geometries
  • Electrical and thermal characterization of thermoelectric modules
  • Reliability testing in endurance tests

We cover the entire production chain –  from the design and preparation of basic units to complete, quality-assured modules.



Thermoelectric waste heat recovery


Thermoelectric generator systems for waste heat conversion