Research Papers: Energy Storage/Systems

Investigating the Effect of Medium Liquid Layer Circulation on Temperature Distribution in a Thermoelectric Generator Heat Exchanger Assembly

[+] Author and Article Information
Ali Amini

Engineering Faculty,
Atatürk University,
Erzurum, 25240, Turkey
e-mail: ali82amini@gmail.com

Özgür Ekici

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Hacettepe University,
Ankara, 06800, Turkey
e-mail: ozgur.ekici@hacettepe.edu.tr

Kenan Yakut

Engineering Faculty,
Atatürk University,
Erzurum, 25240, Turkey
e-mail: kyakut@atauni.edu.tr

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 10, 2018; final manuscript received December 11, 2018; published online January 9, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Esmail M. A. Mokheimer.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(4), 041902 (Jan 09, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1421; doi: 10.1115/1.4042280 History: Received June 10, 2018; Revised December 11, 2018

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are used to produce electricity utilizing two energy reservoirs. Despite the extensive research conducted on thermoelectric (TE) modules, their efficiencies are still low; therefore, any contribution to increase the efficiency of TE modules is valuable. It is known that the efficiency of individual TE modules depends on the temperature difference between their hot and cold faces. In practical applications employing an array of TE modules, the temperature distribution along the flow direction varies, which adversely affects system's efficiency. In this study, it is aimed to attain a homogeneous temperature distribution along a number of TE pieces by focusing on the structure of TEG heat exchanger. The proposed design includes an intermediate layer of liquid that plays a key role in keeping the temperature distribution homogeneous and at the desired temperature difference level. A three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed for analyzing the circulation of liquid layer and the thermal behavior in the system. Results show decrease in temperature deviation both on cold and hot sides of TE modules, while the decrease is more on the latter. With more homogeneous temperature distribution along the TE surfaces, it is possible to tune the system to operate TE modules in their optimum temperature differences. It is illustrated that the heat transfer rate is increased by 11.71% and the electric power generation is enhanced by 19.95% with the proposed heat exchanger design. The consumption of pumping power has taken into account in the efficiency calculations.

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Fig. 1

Schematic structure of the TEG system [8]

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Fig. 2

Figure of merit (ZT) for Bismuth–telluride alloys (a) p-type TE, [16] (b) p-type TE, [17] and (c) n-type TE [18]

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Fig. 3

Schematic view of TEG system in this study

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Fig. 4

TEG system, xy cross section (a) whole model with dimensions and (b) half model with labeled parts

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Fig. 5

Intermediate layer of conducting liquid in circulation

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Fig. 6

Positions of data sampling lines on the model

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Fig. 7

Mesh dependency analysis; simulation results for temperature and velocity values in (a) coolant zone, L2 and (b) exhaust gas zone, L1

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Fig. 8

Velocity contours on fluid content zones

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Fig. 9

Comparison of temperature distributions in the standard heat exchanger–D1 with modified one–D2 (a) TE series cold side and (b) TE series hot side

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Fig. 10

TE Surface temperature in case studies

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Fig. 11

TE Temperature difference and average temperature in case studies

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Fig. 12

TE Figure of merit in case studies

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Fig. 13

Comparison of case studies (a) performance and (b) generated power



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