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Thermoelectric Options for Biomass Safety?

Steamback Member Posts: 37
Just curious if anyone has tried using thermoelectric devices attached to biomass units like woodstoves or wood boilers to produce the backup power needed for safety and heat dumping?

If so, what did you use? Are they manufactured in volume or specialty units?

I'm trying to draw up a schematic for a tiny home using a wood cookstove with hot water coil to a large buffer tank and am not sure if passive techniques will work in this situation. Cost is a somewhat minor issue, if done right the heat output from the biomass device would power the safety's and therefore no bad failure could happen on a biomass unit in relation to over temperature.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    You will have to consider how much power your safeties would require vs. how much power you can extract from the heat of your woodstove. I presume you are thinking in terms of an expansion of the idea of the cute little fans? Only perhaps powering pumps and valves and perhaps a damper? Thermoelectric (Seebeck effect) generators are available -- this company makes them, for instance:

    Certain types of safeties, such as dampers, might better be controlled with bimetal units -- flat or coiled (Vermont Castings stoves and some others use them) rather than some sort of gee-whiz electrics. Pumps, however, such as might be used for a heat dump, take a fair amount of power and might present some problems getting enough power directly.

    It would be possible to set a system up using TEGs charging a battery bank, with appropriate controls to activate pumps and valves... interesting project.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,121
    Thermostatic safeties are common on Euro solid fueled heaters

    Some close off air supply, some relieve and add cool water, some allow thermosiphon.
    Or a small computer backup power supply could buy you some time.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Steamback
    Steamback Member Posts: 37
    edited May 2018
    Thanks, guys.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    I don't think it would be feasible to run a pump with a thermo-electric generator as Jamie said.

    Can't be arranged to thermo-syphon?
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!