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This wonderful team is filled with the greatest of engineering minds:

Adrian Bowyer (RepRapPro)
Andrew Back (AB Open)
Daniel Tinsley (Schneider Electric)
Subhash Mungarwadi (TE Connectivity)
Mario Caruso (QinetiQ)

The brief is to create an domestic electricity generator which is affordable and easy-to-produce in the 3rd world. Will their design be the best? Follow their progress on Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th December.


Day One: AM

Discussing ideas around Thermocouples

Make a machine that’s embedded into a Cooking stove that welds Thermocouples whilst using the stove for cooking, electricity is then generated through this process of cooking!


Day One: PM

Team Maxwell - Heat is the Power!

Team Maxwell are creating a machine to manufacture thermocouple bricks for use as batteries.  Thermocouple bricks consist of clay, copper and Iron (each brick consisting of 2lb of copper and iron).

These thermocouple bricks can be charged by heat, and when placed next to a hot cooker or solar reflector, they will absorb the heat and be capable of generating around 2.5W per brick.  The side closest to the heat source absorbs heat and the other side is therefore cooler causing the Thermocouple brick to produce energy.

At 2.5W, one brick (about the size of a house brick) can generate enough electricity to light three rooms with LED lights.


Day Two: AM

Designing the machine that the bricks can be made in.

Powered by an electric motor, the machine winds thermocouple wire around the plate (connected in series), The machine alternates iron and copper wire and the joints are spot welded via two carbon electriodes.  The finished plates are then placed in brick type mold in layers and stacked between them are thin sheets of clay.  The plates are connected together by twisting and spot welding the wires..  The remaining space in the mold is then filled with liquid clay before firing.





And the winner is.... Team Maxwell! With their design they have named "Seebrick" - aka the "Magic Brick", a Thermocouple brick that turns heat produced by a cooking stove into electricity.


"It's a happy concurrence when something is both worthwhile and fun to do" - Adrian Bowyer

Read more about Team Maxwell's creation in Adrian's blog

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5 Dec 2014, 14:55


December 17, 2014 11:11

The main use we envisaged was to build the bricks into the walls of simple clay cooking stoves. However, we did also suggest that they could equally be used at the focal point of a parabolic reflector.

The nice thing about it being a modular system that simply requires heat, is that it could be put to use in many different ways — wherever you have a source of heat to exploit!

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December 11, 2014 01:54


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December 9, 2014 18:46

Nice ,i am not sure if you are looking for other ideas or to submit a contribution to this thermobrick idea.
Perhaps you can use something.
Heat especially in hot countries is daily available by the sun in the night it is somethines very cold.
My idea
Put a couple of heat pipes connected to a thermal conductive body together.
Connect this thermal body to a couple of teds
(Semiconductor thermo electric devices)
Than couple this again with a thermal body( heat sink )
Teds are sandwiched between conductive bodies.
Put the heat pipes in the ground
If there is a temparture difference electricity is generated . At day top hot ,ground cold
At night reverse ground "hot" ,air cold
Perhaps rectifier necessary to produce constant polarity of current.
Its a concept not tested yet by me perhaps also parts of this idea usable in your brick?
In my idea however is no need for fosile burning material.(fuel)
Wish you luck and succes

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December 9, 2014 16:49

Great idea !
will you use a solar parabolic cooking stove and a thermocouple....

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