Survival Manual

Peltier Elements Can Run A Small Fan

Can I run a small fan using a peltier element? Absolultely! One of the problems with heating an off the grid camp or survival home after the SHTF is not always so much that it is hard to heat! It is hard to cool yes but heating should be the easy side of the equation right? Well yes and no. If you are heating a room with a fire you will quickly learn about a thing called stratification.

Stratification simply means in this case that the air in you room will be hot near the ceiling and still very cold near the floor. This is because heat rises because it is less dense than cooler air. So if you hate cold then just make sure you are in the top bunk! haha!

But there is an easy fix. Run a fan! But how without grid tied electricity! Even if you are lucky (smart) enough to have batteries storing electricity there is still a good chance you will not want to waste that valuable electricity running a fan and instead save it for other more critical purposes. Well you can save those batteries and run your fan... using a peltier element!

If you are not familiar with Peltier Elements read this first: Peltier Element Basics

You will need a few things to construct this heat driven fan. The first is a peltier element. Either a TEC-module (200F, ~90C) or better yet a TEG-module (+482F, +250C) which can withstand higher heat. Basically you will use what you have but given the choice choose a TEG for this application because they are much more durable. If you do use TEC instead of TEG for this application it is best to use multiple TEC's so you can run them at lower temperature yet still produce an adequate amount of power.

TEG vs TEC Identification and Differences:
  • Bigger elements for TEG Modules generally
  • TEG's usually can put out more power
  • Heavier wire for TEG Modules
  • If it has slitting/grooving on one side to reduce stress from high temperature differentials then it is a TEG
  • TEG's have 30,70 or 126 part numbers
  • TEG's can have TEG printed on them and obviously TEC for TEC's. Maybe unreadable if the module is not brand new
  • TEG's Cost More

The concept/design is as follows. You have a heat source heating the hot side of the peltier element. On the cold side you have a heat sink. The difference in temperature generates electricity to drive a motor and the motor drives the fan. Higher temperature difference = increased output power which increases your motor RPM which will increase the air flow and even out the temperature in the room.

List of Components:
  • CPU-cooler for cold side.
  • CPU-cooler for hot side is optional but strongly preferred
  • Peltier Element or elements
  • DC Motor: 1V-3V or a computer fan which won't provide much circulation
  • Thermal paste to attach heat sinks or mechanical attachement (clamps) if not thermal paste is available.
  • Scavanged or homemade Blades for the DC motor to turn it into a fan

Construction will depend on exactly how you plan on heating it. If a candle is your source of power vs open flame campfire vs on a stove. Design differences will really only be in the holder of the device and not the actual unit. Assembling the actual unit is simple. Heat sinks sandwich the peltier element. If only one is used it goes on the cold side. The leads from the peltier element attach to the motor with blades added. Pretty simple really.

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