Yep. Look up the T.E.G. Thermo-Electric Generator. Also, there's the Stirling Cycle Engine, which has been around for a LONG time and some folks have used them for converting waste heat to kinetic energy and/or electricity.
Seems to me that if the intent is to make electricity, the TEG or some kind of thermo-couple would be the way to go, fewer conversions.. On the other hand, if the intent is to use the electricity to turn some gizmo or provide some kind of kinetic motion, the Stirling Cycle would be my choice for the same reasons..
The efficiency of a TEG is typicaly just around 5-10% and very small amounts of watts are produced. TEGs for driving a blower or producing a bit light are relatively cheap. A small Stirling has an efficiency of around 15% to 30% and much larger amounts of watts can be produced. A Beta Stirling would be the cheapest to build stirling. Even a Beta Stirling is expensive to build, at least as high temperature version. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_generator en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine
In Germany the power companies are forced by law to buy electricity from everyone at a good price, thus generating electricity from waste heat is of great financial interest for homeowner. One can buy here stoves with an build in Stirling to raise overall efficiency to near 90%.
The other way round is also common, using an Otto engine to produce electricity and heating the house with the waste heat.
This third possibility is the most promising for producing a significant mount of electricity with a wood stove. Parts of the gas produced by a gasifying stove could be used to drive an Otto engine. There are Otto engines of any imageable size. An Otto engine is much cheaper to produce as a TEG or Stirling of a comparable power. It would not need any control for varying rotation as it could always run in the most efficient range. One from the Waste could be used to.
Steam is appealing as the engines are usually quiet and they are interesting to play with. The big problem is that they mostly use pressurised boilers, and these are dangerous and often kill people. One of the reasons for the invention of the Stirling engine.
One of the reasons for the invention of the Stirling engine.
Can be build even from a pringles box and a low energy generator can be cheaply build with solenoids. On that can run 7/24 at higher temperatures and do some real work is more challenging. There are reason, why most of them are just models.
Not everyone wants noise in his home, so rotating devices are not so welcome.
TEGs make no sound. But the main problem i found using them for some years is overheating. For them to put out more watts, cold side must be as cold as possible and hot side as hot as possible, but not more than 260C. That is very hard to achieve. Yes, you can use pumps, but they make noise and need electricity - usually more than tegs provide.
Relistically one can get night light - enough to see the way to wc at night. And its very nice when some light appears when stove heats up in early morning or dark afternoon. When set up, TEG system does not need any maintenance. Only watch the termometer! Wood heat can make drastic leaps.
ericvw: Got that right, sista Daryl!
Apr 10, 2015 16:57:57 GMT -8
Daryl: I'm off on a hike...everyone have a good day!
Apr 12, 2015 7:40:50 GMT -8
ericvw: So Daryl, to where did you hike?
Apr 13, 2015 14:21:38 GMT -8
Daryl: Along the French Creek. Ok, it was more of a walk...but still! I got outside!!! And it was in the 60s, cool, and breezy! If it doesn't rain tomorrow, then I am going to try to get over to a lake. Just smelling the fishy water will be a buzz!
Apr 13, 2015 15:38:28 GMT -8
ericvw: Everyone in the states doing there taxes or something? Perhaps Spring has sprung... Boards are quiet!
Apr 15, 2015 16:18:19 GMT -8
Daryl: Warm and the sun is out = quiet boards.
Apr 16, 2015 5:08:56 GMT -8
ericvw: We've been in the rain for DAYS! And not warm rain, either
Apr 16, 2015 14:57:18 GMT -8
Daryl: You are two states south of me! You're supposed to be warm! Stop it!
Apr 16, 2015 16:14:09 GMT -8
ericvw: Talk to the hand, Daryl! You can handle being two states above me, this I know! Did you catch that buzz off the fishy creek, or is that what u youngsters call it these days?(rofl)
Apr 17, 2015 17:44:41 GMT -8
Daryl: Ooooo snap, Eric. Nah, I get high on nature...and ice cream.
Apr 17, 2015 18:16:53 GMT -8
Daryl: Well, I got a growing pile of sticks in the back getting ready for burning. Windy here.
Apr 21, 2015 12:03:16 GMT -8
ericvw: I got a growing pile of logs and buckable limbs in the back- windy and intermittent rainy here, going back down into hi 30's- lo 40's overnight. Guess I'll be firing up the old iron box! Need to get that batch box built this summer!
Apr 21, 2015 17:52:25 GMT -8
Daryl: Yep, 30s overnight here too this week. Crazy. We will be lucky to get 4 months of steady weather over the 60s. I only burn in the summer so I am looking forward to cooking outside soon.
Apr 21, 2015 20:55:27 GMT -8