1 Candle Power

February 4, 2016 | 01:47
Blow the LED out when you're done
Blow the LED out when you're done
The Korean company Lumir have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an LED table light powered by the heat of a tea light. The active component inside is a Peltier element which produces energy from the temperature difference between two surfaces.

The thermoelectric Peltier element consists of n-type and p-type semiconductors positioned thermally in parallel and electrically in series with a heat conductive surface at each side. When a DC voltage is applied between the free ends of the semiconductors the resulting current flow across the junctions produces a temperature difference between the two surfaces. As in this application, it also works in reverse (Seebeck effect); heat from the tea light causes a temperature difference between the two surfaces which produces a DC output current to light the LEDs.

When it comes to energy efficiency, a burning candle only converts a few percent of the energy it consumes to produce visible light. The vast majority of energy is lost as heat. The developers at Lumir estimate that their device offers roughly a 15:1 ‘light amplification’ factor compared to the output from a candle. One model is designed as a reading light with an adjustable spot light.

According to the company web site a low cost variant will also be produced for use in developing countries.


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