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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.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

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

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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

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Fig. 3

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

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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.

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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Fig. 9

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

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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

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