Circuit and Method to Startup from Very Low Voltages and Improve Energy Harvesting Efficiency in Thermoelectric Harvesters


Applications include thermoelectric energy harvesters and fuel cells.

Problem Addressed

The electrical circuit in portable thermoelectric harvesters must operate efficiently at low voltages and should also be able to cold-start without the help of a battery.


This invention proposes a novel energy extraction circuit to harvest power from thermoelectric energy harvesters. It implements a mechanical assisted startup circuit that uses small vibrations to turn on the thermoelectric harvester with low voltages (<50mV) without the aid of a battery. The control strategy can automatically track changes in temperature differences for maximum power extraction and a storage circuitry buffers the intermittent energy output by the thermoelectric harvester. It uses a high efficiency DC-DC converter to provide a regulated user-defined voltage output.


  • Startup with low voltages using vibrations
  • Eliminates battery
  • Performs MPPT