Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Energy Conversion by Nanomaterial-Based Trapezoidal-Shaped Leg of Thermoelectric Generator Considering Convection Heat Transfer Effect

[+] Author and Article Information
Abu Raihan Mohammad Siddique, Franziska Kratz, Bill Van Heyst

School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada

Shohel Mahmud

School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
e-mail: smahmud@uoguelph.ca

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received November 14, 2018; final manuscript received December 24, 2018; published online February 14, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Esmail M. A. Mokheimer.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(8), 082001 (Feb 14, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1837; doi: 10.1115/1.4042644 History: Received November 14, 2018; Revised December 24, 2018

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can harvest energy without any negative environmental impact using low potential sources, such as waste heat, and subsequently convert that energy into electricity. Different shaped leg geometries and nanostructured thermoelectric materials have been investigated over the last decades in order to improve the thermal efficiency of the TEGs. In this paper, a numerical study on the performance analysis of a nanomaterial-based (i.e., p-type leg composed of BiSbTe nanostructured bulk alloy and n-type leg composed of Bi2Te3 with 0.1 vol % SiC nanoparticles) trapezoidal-shaped leg geometry has been investigated considering the Seebeck effect, Peltier effect, Thomson effect, Fourier heat conduction, and surface to surrounding irreversible heat transfer loss. Different surface convection heat transfer losses (h) are considered to characterize the current output, power output, and thermal efficiency at various hot surface (TH) and cold surface (TC) temperatures. Good agreement has been achieved between the numerical and analytical results. Moreover, current numerical results are compared with previous related works. The designed nanomaterial-based TEG shows better performance in terms of output current and thermal efficiency with the thermal efficiency increasing from 7.3% to 8.7% using nanomaterial instead of traditional thermoelectric materials at h = 0 W/m2K while TH is 500 K and TC is 300 K.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Yuan, R. , Deng, Y. , Hu, T. , Su, C. , and Liu, X. , 2018, “ Energy Efficient Thermoelectric Generator-Powered Localized Air-Conditioning System Applied in a Heavy-Duty Vehicle,” ASME J. Energy Resour. Technol., 140(7), p. 072007. [CrossRef]
Schock, H. , Brereton, G. , Case, E. , D'Angelo, J. , Hogan, T. , Lyle, M. , Maloney, R. , Moran, K. , Novak, J. , Nelson, C. , Panayi, A. , Ruckle, T. , Sakamoto, J. , Shih, T. , Timm, E. , Zhang, L. , and Zhu, G. , 2013, “ Prospects for Implementation of Thermoelectric Generators as Waste Heat Recovery Systems in Class 8 Truck Applications,” ASME J. Energy Resour. Technol., 135(2), p. 022001. [CrossRef]
Wan, C. , Tian, R. , Azizi, A. B. , Huang, Y. , Wei, Q. , Sasai, R. , Wasusate, S. , Ishida, T. , and Koumoto, K. , 2016, “ Flexible Thermoelectric Foil for Wearable Energy Harvesting,” Nano Energy, 30, pp. 840–845. [CrossRef]
Kim, S. L. , Hsu, J. , and Yu, C. , 2018, “ Intercalated Graphene Oxide for Flexible and Practically Large Thermoelectric Voltage Generation and Simultaneous Energy Storage,” Nano Energy, 48, pp. 582–589. [CrossRef]
Liu, T. , and Yang, Z. , 2018, “ Performance Assessment and Optimization of a Thermophotovoltaic Converter–Thermoelectric Generator Combined System,” ASME J. Energy Resour. Technol., 140(7), p. 072010. [CrossRef]
Fuqiang, C. , Yanji, H. , and Chao, Z. , 2014, “ A Physical Model for Thermoelectric Generators With and Without Thomson Heat,” ASME J. Energy Resour. Technol., 136(1), p. 011201. [CrossRef]
Sahin, A. Z. , and Yilbas, B. S. , 2013, “ The Thermoelement as Thermoelectric Power Generator: Effect of Leg Geometry on the Efficiency and Power Generation,” Energy Convers. Manage., 65, pp. 26–32. [CrossRef]
Khan, A. U. , Kobayashi, K. , Tang, D. M. , Yamauchi, Y. , Hasegawa, K. , Mitome, M. , Xue, Y. , Jiang, B. , Tsuchiya, K. , Golberg, D. , Bando, Y. , and Mori, T. , 2017, “ Nano-Micro-Porous Skutterudites With 100% Enhancement in ZT for High Performance Thermoelectricity,” Nano Energy, 31, pp. 152–159. [CrossRef]
Tang, H. , Sun, F. H. , Dong, J. F. , Asfandiyar, Zhuang, H. L. , Pan, Y. , and Li, J. F. , 2018, “ Graphene Network in Copper Sulfide Leading to Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties and Thermal Stability,” Nano Energy, 49, pp. 267–273. [CrossRef]
Erturun, U. , Erermis, K. , and Mossi, K. , 2014, “ Effect of Various Leg Geometries on Thermo-Mechanical and Power Generation Performance of Thermoelectric Devices,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 73(1), pp. 128–141. [CrossRef]
Crane, D. T. , and Bell, L. E. , 2006, “ Progress Towards Maximizing the Performance of a Thermoelectric Power Generator,” 26th International Conference on Thermoelectrics (ICT), Vienna, Austria, Aug. 6–10, pp. 11–16.
Al-Merbati, A. S. , Yilbas, B. S. , and Sahin, A. Z. , 2013, “ Thermodynamics and Thermal Stress Analysis of Thermoelectric Power Generator: Influence of Pin Geometry on Device Performance,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 50(1), pp. 683–692. [CrossRef]
Ali, H. , Sahin, A. Z. , and Yilbas, B. S. , 2014, “ Thermodynamic Analysis of a Thermoelectric Power Generator in Relation to Geometric Configuration Device Pins,” Energy Convers. Manage., 78, pp. 634–640. [CrossRef]
Lamba, R. , and Kaushik, S. C. , 2017, “ Thermodynamic Analysis of Thermoelectric Generator Including Influence of Thomson Effect and Leg Geometry Configuration,” Energy Convers. Manage., 144, pp. 388–398. [CrossRef]
Rabari, R. , Mahmud, S. , and Dutta, A. , 2014, “ Numerical Simulation of Nano-Structured Thermoelectric Generator Considering Surface to Surrounding Convection,” Int. Commun. Heat Mass Transfer, 56, pp. 146–151. [CrossRef]
Xiao, H. , Gou, X. , and Yang, S. , 2011, “ Detailed Modeling and Irreversible Transfer Process Analysis of a Multi-Element Thermoelectric Generator System,” J. Electron. Mater., 40(5), pp. 1195–1201. [CrossRef]
Reddy, B. V. K. , Barry, M. , Li, J. , and Chyu, M. K. , 2013, “ Thermoelectric Performance of Novel Composite and Integrated Devices Applied to Waste Heat Recovery,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 135(3), p. 031706. [CrossRef]
Ma, Y. , Heijl, R. , and Palmqvist, A. E. C. , 2013, “ Composite Thermoelectric Materials With Embedded Nanoparticles,” J. Mater. Sci., 48(7), pp. 2767–2778. [CrossRef]
Poudel, B. , Hao, Q. , Ma, Y. , Lan, Y. , Minnich, A. , Yu, B. , Yan, X. , Wang, D. , Muto, A. , Vashaee, D. , Chen, X. , Liu, J. , Mildred, S. , Dresselhaus, S. M. , Chen, G. , and Ren, Z. , 2008, “ High-Thermoelectric Performance of Nano-Structured Bismuth Antimony Telluride Bulk Alloys,” Science, 320(5876), pp. 634–638. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Zhao, L. D. , Zhang, B. P. , Li, J. F. , Zhou, M. , Liu, W. S. , and Liu, J. , 2008, “ Thermoelectric and Mechanical Properties of Nano-SiC-Dispersed Bi2Te3 Fabricated by Mechanical Alloying and Spark Plasma Sintering,” J. Alloys Compd., 455(1–2), pp. 259–264. [CrossRef]
Li, H. , Tang, X. , Zhang, Q. , and Uher, C. , 2009, “ High Performance InxCeyCo4Sb12 Thermoelectric Materials With in Situ Forming Nano-Structured InSb Phase,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 94, p. 102114. [CrossRef]
Angrist, S. W. , 1982, Direct Energy Conversion, 4th ed., Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA.
Pereez-Aparcio, J. L. , Palma, R. , and Taylor, R. L. , 2012, “ Finite Element Analysis and Material Sensitivity of Peltier Thermoelectric Cells Coolers,” Int. J. Heat Mass Tranfer, 55, pp. 1363–1374. [CrossRef]
Yilbas, B. S. , and Sahin, A. Z. , 2010, “ Thermoelectric Device and Optimum External Load Parameter and Slenderness Ratio,” Energy, 35(12), pp. 5380–5384. [CrossRef]
Bentley, R., 1998, “ Theory and Practice of Thermoelectric Thermometry,” Handbook of Temperature Measurement, Vol. 3, Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
Rabari, R. , Mahmud, S. , Dutta, A. , and Biglarbegian, M. , 2015, “ Effect of Convection Heat Transfer on Performance of Waste Heat Thermoelectric Generator,” Heat Transfer Eng., 36(17), pp. 1458–1471. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic presentation of a single TEG cell with (a) typical flat rectangular geometry legs, and (b) trapezoidal-shaped legs

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) Geometry changes from the flat rectangular legs (dashed black lines) to trapezoidal-shaped legs (red lines) and (b) three-dimensional schematic views of the geometric configuration of a trapezoidal-shaped TEG leg

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic diagram to illustrate the boundary conditions for conduction and convection heat transfer from a TE leg

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Numerical results for temperature distribution profile and heat transfer contours of a trapezoidal-shaped TEG. Panels (a) and (b) are for traditional TE material based TEG with h =0 W m−2 K−1 and h =60 W m−2 K−1, respectively, and panels (c) and (d) are for nanomaterial-based TEG with h =0 W m−2 K−1 and h =60 W m−2 K−1.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Numerically simulated results of electric potential contours for (a) traditional TE material-based TEG and (b) nanomaterial-based TEG with h =0 W m−2 K−1

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Effect of different hot side temperatures on heat input at different convection heat transfer coefficients when TC remains constant at 300 K (numerical results)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

(a) Output current behaviors as a function TH for traditional and nanomaterial-based TEG at different TC (numerical results) and (b) comparison between an analytical solution and the numerical simulation results

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

(a) Power output behaviors as a function TH for traditional and nanomaterial based TEG at different TC (numerical results) and (b) comparison between numerically simulated power and analytically calculated power at different temperature gradients

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Analytical analysis of open circuit voltage and power output with respect to current for both materials at 200 K temperature difference

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Thermal efficiency with respect to temperature difference at various convection heat transfer coefficients where TH is increasing starting from 400 K and TC is kept constant at 300 K



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In