Light from waste heat energy

12 August 2020

The availability of affordable, independent and, above all, clean electrical energy is still limited worldwide. Today, the access to electricity is considered as existential. Already small amounts of energy mean a huge improvement of living conditions. However, at the moment more than 1.2 billion people have no access to electric power: in remote places, while outdoor activities, in very poor regions and most notably after natural disasters and crises. With IGNIS Berlin-based designer Tobias Trübenbacher has developed a tool that converts waste heat into electricity and can store it until it is needed most.

Several hours of bright light

To charge IGNIS, the product can easily be placed on a hot oven while cooking or heating in order to make use of the waste heat. Alternatively, it can also be charged with a device for burning ordinary household liquids like spirits, any oil or even used frying fat that usually everyone has available at home.

The product has a high-power LED. The light is many times brighter than that of the flames from which the energy was generated. Furthermore, a standard USB output is built into the product, which can be used to charge small electronic devices. After IGNIS has been placed on a heat source for about 160 minutes, it can provide bright light for several hours or charge the battery of a cell phone.

IGNIS is based on new types of thermoelectric modules that convert a temperature difference into electrical voltage. The structure of IGNIS is designed in such a way that the underside is made of highly thermally conductive aluminum, over which there is a large heat sink that largely maintains the ambient temperature. A heat-insulating layer is integrated in between. The temperature difference generated in this way is sufficient to generate an electrical voltage that is stored in several batteries and can be used at any time during or after charging.


images: Tobias Trübenbacher