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[en] Highlights: • A technical solution to the power supply of wireless sensor networks is presented. • The low voltage produced by TEG is boosted from less than 1 V to more than 4 V. • An output current and voltage of TEG device is acquired as 21.47 mA and 221 mV. • The device successfully provides output power 4.7 mW in no electricity conditions. • The thermo-economic value of TEG device is demonstrated. - Abstract: Motivated by the limited power supply of wireless sensors used to monitor the natural environment, for example, in forests, this study presents a technical solution by recycling solar irradiation heat using thermoelectric generators. Based on solar irradiation and the earth’s surface-air temperature difference, a new type of thermoelectric power generation device has been devised, the distinguishing features of which include the application of an all-glass heat-tube-type vacuum solar heat collection pipe to absorb and transfer solar energy without a water medium and the use of a thin heat dissipation tube to cool the earth surface air temperature. The effects of key parameters such as solar illumination, air temperature, load resistance, the proportional coefficient, output power and power generation efficiency for thermoelectric energy conversion are analyzed. The results of realistic outdoor experiments show that under a state of regular illumination at 3.75 × 10"4 lx, using one TEG module, the thermoelectric device is able to boost the voltage obtained from the natural solar irradiation from 221 mV to 4.41 V, with an output power of 4.7 mW. This means that the electrical energy generated can provide the power supply for low power consumption components, such as low power wireless sensors, ZigBee modules and other low power loads
[en] Highlights: • A technical solution to the power supply of wireless sensor networks is presented. • The low voltage produced by device is boosted from around 1 V to more than 4 V. • An output current and voltage of the device is acquired as 343 mA and 1057 mV. • The device provides output power 362.56 mW in no electricity conditions. • The economic value of device is demonstrated. - Abstract: Solar thermoelectric power generation has been widely used to solve the power supply limitation issue for low-power wireless sensors because of its light weight, high reliability, low cost, lack of noise, and environmental friendliness. A solar thermoelectric power generation system based on gravity-assisted heat pipes and solar radiation is devised in this paper, and its behavior is continuously measured in realistic outdoor circumstances. The effects of key parameters, including solar luminous flux, load resistance, a proportional coefficient, and a relative Seebeck coefficient, are analyzed. Related experimental results show that the device can output a voltage of 1057 mV and an electrical current of 343 mA, resulting in an output power of 362.56 mW. With a stable external energy conversion module under aluminous flux of 7.81 × 10"4 lx, the voltage converted from the nature solar radiation is boosted from 1057 mV to 4.40 V, which meets the rated operating voltage of low power consumption components, such as low-power wireless sensors and ZigBee modules. An economic analysis of the system shows that the solar thermoelectric power generation device is both economically and technically competitive when it is applied in a low-voltage wireless sensor network.