A novel energy harvesting system and method utilizing a thermoelectric having a material exhibiting a large thermally induced strain (TIS) due to a phase transformation and a material exhibiting a stress induced electric field is introduced. A material that exhibits such a phase transformation exhibits a large increase in the coefficient of thermal expansion over an incremental temperature range (typically several degrees Kelvin). When such a material is arranged in a geometric configuration, such as, for a example, a laminate with a material that exhibits a stress induced electric field (e.g. a piezoelectric material) the thermally induced strain is converted to an electric field.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.