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Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

A Physical Model for Thermoelectric Generators With and Without Thomson Heat

[+] Author and Article Information
Cheng Fuqiang, Zhu Chao

State Key Laboratory of Laser Propulsion
and Application,
Academy of Equipment,
Beijing 101416, China

Hong Yanji

State Key Laboratory of Laser Propulsion
and Application,
Academy of Equipment,
Beijing 101416, China
e-mail: chengfq101@aliyun.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 21, 2013; final manuscript received December 14, 2013; published online February 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: S. O. Bade Shrestha.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 136(1), 011201 (Feb 24, 2014) (5 pages) Paper No: JERT-13-1268; doi: 10.1115/1.4026280 History: Received September 21, 2013; Revised December 14, 2013

Performance prediction of thermoelectric generators (TEG) is an important work in thermoelectrics and a physical model is quite necessary. Now basic thermoelectric phenomena have been expounded explicitly, modeling a TEG is an accessible work. However, the Thomson heat (which is a second-order effect) is usually neglected in device-level TEG analyses. And the dealing with the output power expression without Thomson heat is improper in some studies. Based on a thermoelectric model which considers basic thermoelectric effects, as well as the thermal resistances between the thermocouple and the heat source, heat sink, reasonable expressions of Thomson coefficient and Seebeck coefficient are proposed. The output power expression without Thomson heat is analyzed and redressed. With and without Thomson heat, the output power and energy efficiency are calculated at different thermal conditions. Some new results distinct from the past ones are presented. At last, in order to testify the physical model, a BiTe-based thermoelectric module is tested and an ANSYS model is built.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

The structure and heat flows sketch of a TEG cell

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Fig. 2

The temperature difference ΔTg at the thermocouple versus current I with T0 = 303 K

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Fig. 3

The output power P versus the current I with T0 = 303 K

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Fig. 4

The energy efficiency η versus the current I with T0 = 303 K

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Fig. 5

Sketch of the test setup to measure the output power of a BiTe-based module

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Fig. 6

The geometry and mesh of a TEG cell in ANSYS model

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Fig. 7

Output power comparison of the test, model calculation and ANSYS results with heat source at 463 K and heat sink at 318 K

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Fig. 8

Output power comparison of the test, model calculation and ANSYS results with heat source at 458 K and heat sink at 303 K

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