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Thermoelectric Powered Security Systems in Iceland using a Geothermal Steam Pipe as a Heat Source
* 1, 2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
1  Center for Innovation and Applied Technology
2  Mechanical Engineering, The Cooper Union
3  Jaroff Design
4  Arvirkinn ehf.
5  Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, University of Iceland


Geothermal bore holes and steam pipes are often in remote locations where normal powering methods for monitoring systems are difficult due to distance from the electrical grid. Solar power options are limited during the winter months, and colder temperatures are detrimental to stand-alone batteries. The authors have successfully field tested their patented thermoelectric generator in Hveragerdi at the Agricultural University of Iceland. It was retrofitted directly to the surface of a geothermal steam pipe in less than 30 minutes. The generator can produce more than 5 watts (W) in steady state in an environment which has a delta T of 130 °C between the ambient air temperature and the surface of the steam pipe. Cellular video surveillance systems, rudimentary control systems, and small robotic systems have been powered while trickle charging 12 volt (V) 9 ampere-hour (Ah) lead acid batteries. Recent applications use a standard commercially available 3G mobile broadband connection with a low power modem for a web cam. The charged batteries can be used for peak power applications. Reliability studies are in progress and additional options will be investigated.

Keywords: Thermoelectric generator; Web security cameras; Remote monitoring systems