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Energies 2017, 10(3), 386;

Equivalent Electrical Circuits of Thermoelectric Generators under Different Operating Conditions

Institut Jean Lamour (UMR7198), Université de Lorraine, BP 70239, F-54506 Vandoeuvre lès Nancy, France
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Siouane, S., Jovanović, S. and Poure, P. Equivalent electrical circuit of thermoelectric generators under constant heat flow. In Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE 16th International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering (EEEIC 2016), Florence, Italy, 7–10 June 2016.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rodolfo Araneo
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Energy harvesting has become a promising and alternative solution to conventional energy generation patterns to overcome the problem of supplying autonomous electrical systems. More particularly, thermal energy harvesting technologies have drawn a major interest in both research and industry. Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) can be used in two different operating conditions, under constant temperature gradient or constant heat flow. The commonly used TEG electrical model, based on a voltage source in series with an electrical resistance, shows its limitations especially under constant heat flow conditions. Here, the analytical electrical modeling, taking into consideration the internal and contact thermal resistances of a TEG under constant temperature gradient and constant heat flow conditions, is first given. To give further insight into the electrical behavior of a TEG module in different operating conditions, we propose a new and original way of emulating the above analytical expressions with usual electronics components (voltage source, resistors, diode), whose values are determined with the TEG’s parameters. Note that such a TEG emulation is particularly suited when designing the electronic circuitry commonly associated to the TEG, to realize both Maximum Power Point Tracking and output voltage regulation. First, the proposed equivalent electrical circuits are validated through simulation with a SPICE environment in static operating conditions using only one value of either temperature gradient or heat flow. Then, they are also analyzed in dynamic operating conditions where both temperature gradient and heat flow are considered as time-varying functions. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric generator; equivalent electrical circuit; electrical modeling; constant temperature gradient; constant heat flow thermoelectric generator; equivalent electrical circuit; electrical modeling; constant temperature gradient; constant heat flow

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Siouane, S.; Jovanović, S.; Poure, P. Equivalent Electrical Circuits of Thermoelectric Generators under Different Operating Conditions. Energies 2017, 10, 386.

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