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Evaporative cooler combined with Peltier elements to produce electricity

Image credit: Lynn Davis

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 17, 2021
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The idea is to generate electricity via the Peltier elements (Seebeck effect) coupled with an ancient passive cooling method.

In addition, the same cooling method could be used to make this almost passive atmospheric water generator into a fully passive atmospheric water generator.


By 400 BCE, Persian engineers were building yakhchāls (ice pits) in the desert to capture and store ice. A Yakhchāl is an ancient passive evaporative cooler. The structure has a dome-shaped evaporator above ground and a cold storage area below ground.

During evaporation, the warm air molecules move faster and evaporate from the opening on top. This leaves the slower-moving, colder molecules behind. The result is a significant difference in temperature between the outside air and the air inside the ground storage area.

Peltier elements and Seebeck effect

Thermoelectric devices or Peltier elements use the Peltier effect to create a heat flux between the junctions of two materials. The same can be used in reverse (Seebeck efffect) to convert the difference in temperature into electricity.

Electricity production via Yakhchāl and Peltier elements

Holes would be dug on the side of the cold storage area of a Yakchal. A barrier made of many peltier cells would replace sections of cold storage area wall. The hot outside air would reach one side of the Peltier elements while the cold inside air would reach the other side - thereby producing electricity via the Seebeck effect.


Creative contributions

Drinking water production via Yakhchāl

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 17, 2021
Desert coastal areas like for example Dubai where air humidity is relatively high due to seawater evaporation have a shortage of drinking water.

Yakhchāl coupled with atmospheric water generators could be used for large-scale drinking water production.

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 years ago
I see in your atmospheric water generator idea you mention making clean drinking water from the moisture in the air. Could the evaporation not also be used to desalinate ocean water? If so, it could have a third utility as ocean water could be distilled so that it becomes suitable for human consumption. This would work out perfectly as many of the areas that are in dire need of pure water also have the perfect environments for what you are suggesting.
Desalinating water through evaporation is possible, the biggest drawback is the high amounts of energy needed. If your system could do it by using the elements, it could be a major breakthrough in the quest to provide water to arid areas. I'm just not sure if it will produce enough energy.?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Spook Louw I believe that coastal areas naturally have high humidity. You might not need to desalinate seawater if water vapor (without salt) can be pulled out of the air. The sun takes care of the evaporation and provides the energy needed for cooling - so that water vapor can adsorb to cold surfaces.
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