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Energies 2017, 10(9), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10091329

Enhanced Efficiency of Thermoelectric Generator by Optimizing Mechanical and Electrical Structures

1
School of Energy Resources, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
2
Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
3
State Key Laboratory of Development and Utilization of Coking-coal Resources, China Pingmei Shenma Group, Pingdingshan 467000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 July 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract

Much attention has been paid to the application of low temperature thermal resources, especially for power generation in recent years. Most of the current commercialized thermal (including geothermal) power-generation technologies convert thermal energy to electric energy indirectly, that is, making mechanical work before producing electricity. Technology using a thermoelectric generator (TEG), however, can directly transform thermal energy into electricity through the Seebeck effect. TEG technology has many advantages such as compactness, quietness, and reliability because there are no moving parts. One of the biggest disadvantages of TEGs is the low efficiency from thermal to electric energy. For this reason, we redesigned and modified our previous 1 KW (at a temperature difference of around 120 °C) TEG system. The output power of the system was improved significantly, about 34.6% greater; the instantaneous efficiency of the TEG system could reach about 6.5%. Laboratory experiments have been conducted to measure the output power at different conditions: different connection modes between TEG modules, different mechanical structures, and different temperature differences between hot and cold sides. The TEG apparatus has been tested and the data have been presented. This kind of TEG power system can be applied in many thermal and geothermal sites with low temperature resources, including oil fields where fossil and geothermal energies are coproduced. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric generator system (TEGs); direct power generation; thermoelectric effect; thermal efficiency thermoelectric generator system (TEGs); direct power generation; thermoelectric effect; thermal efficiency
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Chen, J.; Li, K.; Liu, C.; Li, M.; Lv, Y.; Jia, L.; Jiang, S. Enhanced Efficiency of Thermoelectric Generator by Optimizing Mechanical and Electrical Structures. Energies 2017, 10, 1329.

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