effetto seebeck

Seebeck effect: from space waves to the camper

The technology used by NASA is also available to recharge the batteries of campers and boats, thanks to the research of an Italian company.


At the Pasadena conference organized by NASA on the developments of thermoelectric technology, the only Italian guests were the researchers belonging to the CNR who presented the latest developments of the Zeus generator.


Zeus is a generator that produces up to 200 W/h through the principle of the Seebeck effect. Usable for campers or sailboats,
is a Mobil Tech project, a company in the province of Monza and Brianza, where the creator Luca Barin decided to apply the thermoelectric technology of Seebeck plates to a generator to be used on a common vehicle.

The project was carried out in collaboration with the CNR and promoted by European calls.

Traveling in a campervan and finding yourself unable to recharge the batteries is not a good feeling. Let’s imagine what it can be when it happens in space.

Seebeck Effect By Thomas Lohan Seebeck

For this reason, NASA uses a specific charging technology for travel in orbit, which bears the name of the Estonian physicist Thomas Lohann Seebeck, who discovered it in 1821. And today, thanks to the commitment of an Italian company, Mobil Tech is available also for us who move on planet Earth.

But what technology is it about? And why is the Seebeck effect still relevant after two centuries? The Seebeck effect allows you to convert heat into electricity, because an electric current is generated between two metals (or between the two extremes of a metal element) with different temperatures.

To obtain the necessary current, it is sufficient to bring the two parts to an important temperature difference. In fact, it is one thing to use this effect for small DIY jobs, it is quite another to recharge the Lunar Rovers or the batteries of a camper or boat.

The generator contains the components that ensure the necessary temperature difference: on the one hand a small burner, while on the other a liquid cooling system.

This technology is more current than ever because it allows the production of energy in the utmost silence, without polluting, with great attention to environmental sustainability. But this is another good story and we will see it in the next issue.

effetto seebeck