I had been dreaming of designing a low-noise, low-emission electricity generator for years! As a camper I have often dreamed of a device that would make me energy self-sufficient even when the photovoltaic panels were not able to produce energy and I had noticed that the same problems were also common to boat owners and truck drivers. With Zeus I found the best solution that suited my needs.
After studying and evaluating various technologies (eg fuel cells and magnetic applications derived from Kers) to produce electricity without having to use noisy and polluting heat engines, I was able to approach seebeck technology. The first experiences were fluctuating: first exciting thinking that it was enough to apply a consistent temperature difference, then disappointing when I realized that the energy production is logarithmic compared to the prescribed working temperature and in the end very interesting and satisfactory when after a lot of work and managed to create the optimal conditions for a correct performance.
The Zeus project started in 2013 but only in 2015, after realizing that we could centralize our goal, did we submit the first national and then Community patent application. Patents that the following years have been granted to us.
In 2015 we embarked on the adventure for us as a tiny company to submit the project to the SME Instrument call for Horizon 2020 in order to be subsidized for the costs incurred. Well, after the canonical 90 days necessary for the evaluation of what has been done and proposed, the project is promoted !!! in the first presentation only 0.4% of the projects received this recognition.
And now we come to the project
To create the system that would contain everything necessary to use the thermoelectric technology modules, we decided to create a radial structure in order to be able to uniformly download the variations in loads due to the expansion of the materials as temperatures vary over the entire surface. Yes, because in addition to having to create the correct thermal delta, another important factor is that the modules have constant and uniform loads over the entire surface, and this also with varying temperatures. The whole unit is controlled and stabilized with disc springs with calibrated preload.
Depending on the intended use, we first decide to use and manage a diesel burner that draws fuel directly from the vehicle’s tank. But there is a first problem: how do we create a combustion chamber that has a uniform surface temperature despite being affected by exhaust gases with a difference of 600 ° between inlet and outlet from the closed chamber? Problem not easy to solve! We do not lose heart and with the precious help of the CNR and a year of laboratory tests we come up with a satisfactory result, also calculating that to contain costs the combustion chamber must be obtained from casting and machined and not from solid.
The cold side must also be correctly sized and uniform and we must also obtain the maximum exchange with the minimum energy consumption, because the real current production of the generator depends on the difference between the gross production and the consumption necessary for its operation. We design a very efficient radiator assembly with quiet, powered fans in relation to how much heat they need to extract to keep temperatures low. Another curiosity concerns the conformation of the cold side exchanger because the extraction of the temperature must not depend on the direction of travel of the liquid but also here must be uniform over the entire surface. Furthermore, the exchanger must not decrease the head so it allows the use of circulation pumps with reduced consumption.
Electronics was designed in doc. We have designed for Zeus, a 4.3 “touch screen display to easily and intuitively control the functions and a recharging unit with efficient MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) technology dedicated to any type of battery on the market and with charge curves. customized. With the help of automotive-derived atmospheric pressure sensors, we have perfected the stoichiometric ratio of combustion as the climate and altitude vary, thus ensuring maximum efficiency up to over 3000m of altitude.
We have given particular attention to the possible combination with renewable energy sources, giving them priority in order to always use the best source available on board. So when the sun is shining the electronics will automatically select the photovoltaic or wind power panel while when the working conditions of the photovoltaic or wind power will not be present or the energy requirement will be higher, the thermoelectric generator will activate, always without annoying noises. . Like a guardian angel of energy, Zeus, ensuring maximum comfort, safety and autonomy on board. Special attention was paid to the technical service and installers, by inserting a complete self-diagnosis of the system.
The range of designed generators
Following market demands, we expand the range by designing a cheaper Zeus generator and a more powerful version dedicated to the nautical market
Also for the owner to be energetically independent in complete silence, listening to the rustle of the wind and not that of noisy and polluting generators is very important, also confirmed that for the cooling we exchange the sea water directly, thus eliminating the radiator and fans and making the system. With Zeus it is possible to solve this problem.