The Peltier Effect

Hi, engineering or/and thermodynamic question here,

About to start a project that needs a cooling system and i was wondering if anyone had heard or used this effect (current through, say, copper to iron to copper hooked to dc source and heat being produced at one metal connection and a cooling effect at the other) and what they have experienced with the effect.

If so, could you use colling effect directly to cool and use evaporative cooling on ‘hot’ effect to conserve energy?


Yes, these are used in the little coolers that you can plug into your car’s lighter to keep drinks cool or warm food warm (depending on the power flow). For more info on this:


A pair of Utah high school students have just won a major science fair, $50,000 and have applied for a patent on their Peltier device.


I actually built an oil-submerged computer a while back that depended on a peltier for cooling. You can see it here

I learned that peltiers are good when there is a space limitation and a radiator can’t be used. They’re not efficient, and produce more heat on the “hot” side than they absorb on the cold side. Additonally, the powerful ones consume a TON of power. Definitely not something you would use to conserve energy.

If you need to get something below ambient temperature though, they might be a good substitution for a refridgeration unit.

…great devices for closed systems (like an oil bath) but highly impracticle for anything resembling a refrigerator which has to be opened to place things inside.

Cheers for the replies,

they help a good bit knowing that it has been successfully used before,

i’m using it to refridgerate the water in an office water dispenser and i think it is already being used in existing models, i’m looking to make the idea as small as possible, and also to use the heat side for an evaporate cooler (which i think, can be done, if my thermodynamics is right, but don’t bet on that) which woyuld maximise the efficiency of this type of cooling apparatus.

again, cheers!