2008 was the first full year of the Ponzi Scheme Financial Crisis engineered by the banks. One of the casualties of that debacle was the source of funding for development of thermopower. To make a long story short, the money was stolen by a real estate developer who used it to pay his creditors. It's unlikely the money will ever be recovered.
But, this doesn't mean that thermopower development won't happen. It just won't happen as fast as it could have. Three groups of venture capitalists are in discussion right now to potentially fund development. Hopefully, there will be good news to report before too much longer.