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Heat Transfer and Geometrical Analysis of Thermoelectric Converters Driven by Concentrated Solar Radiation
Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Solid State Chemistry and Catalysis, Empa, 8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland
Solar Technology Laboratory, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 March 2010; in revised form: 8 April 2010 / Accepted: 12 April 2010 / Published: 14 April 2010
Abstract: A heat transfer model that couples radiation/conduction/convection heat transfer with electrical potential distribution is developed for a thermoelectric converter (TEC) subjected to concentrated solar radiation. The 4-leg TEC module consists of two pairs of p-type La1.98Sr0.02CuO4 and n-type CaMn0.98Nb0.02O3 legs that are sandwiched between two ceramic Al2O3 hot/cold plates and connected electrically in series and thermally in parallel. The governing equations for heat transfer and electrical potential are formulated, discretized and solved numerically by applying the finite volume (FV) method. The model is validated in terms of experimentally measured temperatures and voltages/power using a set of TEC demonstrator modules, subjected to a peak radiative flux intensity of 300 suns. The heat transfer model is then applied to examine the effect of the geometrical parameters (e.g. length/width of legs) on the solar-to-electricity energy conversion efficiency.
Keywords: thermoelectricity; thermoelectric converter; solar; heat transfer; radiation; modeling; optimization
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Suter, C.; Tomeš, P.; Weidenkaff, A.; Steinfeld, A. Heat Transfer and Geometrical Analysis of Thermoelectric Converters Driven by Concentrated Solar Radiation. Materials 2010, 3, 2735-2752.
Suter C, Tomeš P, Weidenkaff A, Steinfeld A. Heat Transfer and Geometrical Analysis of Thermoelectric Converters Driven by Concentrated Solar Radiation. Materials. 2010; 3(4):2735-2752.
Suter, Clemens; Tomeš, Petr; Weidenkaff, Anke; Steinfeld, Aldo. 2010. "Heat Transfer and Geometrical Analysis of Thermoelectric Converters Driven by Concentrated Solar Radiation." Materials 3, no. 4: 2735-2752.