Effect of transient low-grade solar heat on liquid thermogalvanic cells

Maxwell Owusu, Kwadwo Mensah-Darkwa, Anthony Andrews, Francis Davis, Patrick Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Thermogalvanic cells have attracted huge attention for the conversion of low-grade waste heat into electricity due to their cost effectiveness. The environment in itself is a rich source of untapped energy such as energy from the sun, geothermal waste heat etc. However, the transient nature of this waste heat makes it a challenge for all-day electricity generation. This paper therefore seeks to investigate the effect of the transient nature of the ultra-low-grade solar energy on liquid thermogalvanic cell. Copper sulphate (CuSO4) electrolyte and copper electrodes were used. The electrolytes were contained in two pyrex 100-ml glass beaker with corks holding the electrode and a thermocouple in each beaker. A 42 cm long tube containing same electrolyte connected the two as a salt bridge. The electrolyte concentrations were varied from 0.2 to 1.0 M at a temperature difference ranging from 2 to 10 °C. The maximum Seebeck coefficient of 0.698 mV/K was recorded at a concentration of 0.8 M CuSO4 during heating and 0.798 mV/K at a concentration of 1.0 M during cooling. A maximum power output of 3.99 nWcm-2 was obtained at a concentration of 0.8 M.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-772
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Today: Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Event2020 International Symposium on Nanostructured, Nanoengineered and Advanced Materials, ISNNAM 2020 - Gold Reef City, South Africa
Duration: Apr 30 2020May 3 2020


  • Cyclic temperature change
  • Liquid thermoelectric
  • Low-grade heat
  • Thermal energy harvesting
  • Thermogalvanic cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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