Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Performance Assessment and Optimization of a Thermophotovoltaic Converter–Thermoelectric Generator Combined System

[+] Author and Article Information
Tie Liu

Department of Physics,
Jiujiang Research Institute,
Xiamen University,
Xiamen 361005, China

Zhimin Yang

Department of Physics,
Jiujiang Research Institute,
Xiamen University,
Xiamen 361005, China
e-mail: zhiminyoung@hotmail.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received December 15, 2017; final manuscript received March 6, 2018; published online March 29, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Esmail M. A. Mokheimer.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(7), 072010 (Mar 29, 2018) (6 pages) Paper No: JERT-17-1712; doi: 10.1115/1.4039629 History: Received December 15, 2017; Revised March 06, 2018

To evaluate the feasibility of the performance enhancement of a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) converter by using a thermoelectric generator (TEG), a new model of a combined system is established, where the TEG is attached on the backside of the TPV converter to harvest the heat produced in the TPV converter. The effects of the voltage output of the TPV converter, band gap energy of the TPV converter, dimensionless current of the TEG, and emitter temperature on the performance of the combined system are examined numerically. It is found that the performance of the TPV converter can be enhanced by using the TEG. The percentage increment of the maximum power output density is larger than that of the maximum efficiency. There are optimally working regions of the converter voltage, dimensionless current, and band gap energy. The elevated emitter temperature results in the increase of the power output density of the combined system. However, there is an optimal emitter temperature that yields the maximum efficiency of the combined system. Moreover, the TEG is not suitable to harvest the heat produced in the TPV converter when the emitter temperature is sufficiently high.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The schematic diagram of the TPV–TEG combined system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Three-dimensional graphs of the (a) efficiency η (b) power output density P*, and temperatures of the (c) PV cell as well as the (d) hot- and (e) cold-sides of the TEG varying with the converter voltage Vc and dimensionless current ig for a=0.8, Te=1300 K, and Eg=0.40 eV

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

The efficiency η and the power output density P* versus: (a) the converter voltage and (b) the dimensionless current for a=0.8, Te=1300 K, and Eg=0.40 eV, where ig and Vc have been optimized, respectively

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

The efficiency and the power output density versus the band gap energy Eg for a=0.8 and Te=1300 K, where Vc and ig have been optimized, Eg,p is the optimal band gap energy at the maximum power output density Pmax* of the combined system, and Eg,η is the optimal band gap energy at the maximum efficiency ηmax of the combined system



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