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Energies 2016, 9(7), 541; doi:10.3390/en9070541

Thermoelectric Generators on Satellites—An Approach for Waste Heat Recovery in Space

Institute of Aerospace Engineering, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany
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Academic Editor: George Kosmadakis
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 17 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 14 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Power and Propulsion)
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Abstract

Environmental radiation in space (from the Sun, etc.) and operational thermal loads result in heat flows inside the structure of satellites. Today these heat flows remain unused and are collected, transported to a radiator and emitted to space to prevent the satellite from overheating, but they hold a huge potential to generate electrical power independently of solar panels. Thermoelectric generators are a promising approach for such applications because of their solid state characteristics. As they do not have any moving parts, they do not cause any vibrations in the satellite. They are said to be maintenance-free and highly reliable. Due to the expected small heat flows modern devices based on BiTe have to be considered, but these devices have no flight heritage. Furthermore, energy harvesting on space systems is a new approach for increasing the efficiency and reliability. In this paper, different systems studies and applications are discussed based some experimental characterisation of the electrical behaviour and their dependence on thermal cycles and vibration. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric generator; space power systems; energy harvesting; autonomous systems thermoelectric generator; space power systems; energy harvesting; autonomous systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

von Lukowicz, M.; Abbe, E.; Schmiel, T.; Tajmar, M. Thermoelectric Generators on Satellites—An Approach for Waste Heat Recovery in Space. Energies 2016, 9, 541.

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