Special Issue "Solar Thermoelectric Generators"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Toni Pujol
Website
Guest Editor
Univ Girona, Dept Mech Engn & Ind Construct, Girona 17003, Spain
Interests: thermoelectric generators; computational fluid dynamics; sand filters; hydraulic turbines
Dr. Eduard Massaguer
Website
Guest Editor
Univ Girona, Dept Mech Engn and Ind Construct, Girona 17003, Spain
Interests: thermoelectric generators; thermoelectricity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are inviting submissions to a Special Issue of Energies on the subject area of Solar Thermoelectric Generators (STEGs).

STEGs are thermoelectric generators that use solar radiation as a heat source. STEGs are very simple, reliable, and lightweight, and they may operate with high-temperature high-efficiency thermoelectric modules. All of these features, among others, have recently increased the interest of using STEGs to provide electrical energy in off-grid applications, to improve the energy efficiency of systems and facilities, and so on.

  • This Special Issue focuses on the analysis, design, and implementation of STEGs.
  • Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • STEG design (cold and/or hot heat sinks, structure design of thermoelectric modules, etc.)
  • Performance analysis of STEG systems
  • Optimization studies of STEG systems
  • High-performance thermoelectric materials for STEG applications
  • Non-conventional applications of STEG (windows, façades, roads, etc.)
  • Micro-power STEG systems
  • STEG for space applications
  • STEG integrated in other energy systems
  • Hybrid PV-STEG systems

Dr. Toni Pujol
Dr. Eduard Massaguer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Solar thermoelectric generator
  • Thermoelectricity
  • Solar power generation
  • Solar energy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Electrical Generation of a Ground-Level Solar Thermoelectric Generator: Experimental Tests and One-Year Cycle Simulation
Energies 2020, 13(13), 3407; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13133407 - 02 Jul 2020
Abstract
Solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) are a promising technology to harvest energy for off-grid applications. A wide variety of STEG designs have been proposed with the aim of providing non-intermittent electrical generation. Here, we designed and tested a STEG 0.5 m long formed by [...] Read more.
Solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) are a promising technology to harvest energy for off-grid applications. A wide variety of STEG designs have been proposed with the aim of providing non-intermittent electrical generation. Here, we designed and tested a STEG 0.5 m long formed by nine commercial thermoelectric generator modules and located at ground level. Data were used to validate a numerical model that was employed to simulate a one-year cycle. Results confirmed the very high variability of energy generation during daylight time due to weather conditions. By contrast, energy generation during night was almost independent of atmospheric conditions. Annual variations of nighttime energy generation followed the trend of the daily averaged soil temperature at the bottom of the device. Nighttime electrical energy generation was 5.4 times smaller than the diurnal one in yearly averaged values. Mean energy generation values per day were 587 J d−1 (daylight time) and 110 J d−1 (nighttime). Total annual energy generation was 255 kJ. Mean electrical output power values during daylight and nighttime were 13.4 mW and 2.5 mW, respectively. Annual mean output power was 7.9 mW with a peak value of 79.8 mW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical–Experimental Performance Assessment of a Non-Concentrating Solar Thermoelectric Generator (STEG) Operating in the Southern Hemisphere
Energies 2020, 13(10), 2666; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102666 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study assesses the performance of a solid-state semiconductor-based hybrid photovoltaic-thermoelectric device that aims to harness both solar irradiance and heat dissipated from photovoltaic cells operating in Foz do Iguaçu city. Initially, the technologies involved, and the arrangement of the proposed device are [...] Read more.
This study assesses the performance of a solid-state semiconductor-based hybrid photovoltaic-thermoelectric device that aims to harness both solar irradiance and heat dissipated from photovoltaic cells operating in Foz do Iguaçu city. Initially, the technologies involved, and the arrangement of the proposed device are presented; the modeling process of the generator operation under local operating conditions and taking into account solar energy availability is described later. The thermal energy harvesting brings out an average annual efficiency gain of 4.42% and a maximum efficiency increase of 6.05% (in the fall equinox) compared to standalone PV cell operation. The power output increase due to the utilization of the heat dissipated by the PV cells was substantial, reaching values ranging from 14.82% to 40.54%, depending on the time of year. The novelty of this research stems from the field power generation forecast, in southern hemisphere, for a new STEG device that combines photovoltaic cells and solid-state thermoelectric modules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of the TEGs Configuration (Series/Parallel) in Energy Harvesting Systems with Low-Voltage Thermoelectric Generators Connected to Ultra-Low Voltage DC–DC Converters
Energies 2020, 13(9), 2297; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13092297 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Solar radiation and human activity generate ubiquitous temperature gradients that could be harvested by thermoelectric generators (TEGs). However, most of these temperature gradients are in the range of very few degrees and, while TEGs are able to harvest them, the resulting output voltages [...] Read more.
Solar radiation and human activity generate ubiquitous temperature gradients that could be harvested by thermoelectric generators (TEGs). However, most of these temperature gradients are in the range of very few degrees and, while TEGs are able to harvest them, the resulting output voltages are extremely small (a few hundreds of mV), and DC–DC converters are necessary to boost them to usable levels. Impedance matching between TEGs and DC–DC converter plays a fundamental role in the energy harvesting efficiency. Therefore, it is essential to determine the output power of the system in different configurations, in order to decide on the optimum TEG connection. Here, we present an electronic circuit to measure the maximum power that can be harvested with low-voltage TEGs connected to a DC–DC converter. The developed circuit is an electronic controlled load that drains the maximum current from the output of the DC–DC converter while maintaining its output voltage at the maximum allowed value. Using a mechanical set-up able to apply precise low temperature gradients between the hot and cold side of the TEGs, experimental data using different configurations of TEGs are obtained. The measured results show that, for ultra-low voltages, the TEG ensemble’s output impedance plays an important role not only in the amount of the energy scavenged, but also in the onset temperature of the energy harvesting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of a Solar Thermoelectric Power-Harvesting Device Based on an All-Glass Solar Heat Transfer Pipe and Gravity-Assisted Heat Pipe with Recycling Air Cooling and Water Cooling Circuits
Energies 2020, 13(4), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040947 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
For the purpose of collecting solar radiation for energy conversion and utilization and improving the output performance of thermoelectric power-generation components, a new solar thermoelectric conversion device based on an all-glass solar heat transfer pipe and gravity-assisted heat pipe with recycling air cooling [...] Read more.
For the purpose of collecting solar radiation for energy conversion and utilization and improving the output performance of thermoelectric power-generation components, a new solar thermoelectric conversion device based on an all-glass solar heat transfer pipe and gravity-assisted heat pipe with recycling air cooling and water cooling circuits is designed. The uniqueness of the device lies in the combination of gravity-assisted heat pipes with excellent thermal conductivity and a direct air-cooled mode, a fin-cooled mode, and two solar-driven water-cooling modes with different flow rates. Based on the structure, the device can realize four separate output modes and multiple composite output modes and has practical significance for meeting different load power requirements, such as wireless sensors and electronics. Under a state of regular illumination from 3.14 × 104 lx to 10.04 × 104 lx, with one thermoelectric power generator (TEG) in one mode, the peak output voltage and power values of the device in single-output mode range from 183.1 mV to 370.7 mV and 33.5 mW to 137.2 mW, respectively, proving the feasibility of the proposed device. The energy supply of the above structure is completely obtained from the natural environment, and this aspect provides a high reference value for the cross-research of natural environment energy utilization and thermoelectric energy-conversion technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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Open AccessArticle
Additive Aerodynamic and Thermal Effects of a Central Guide Post and Baffle Installed in a Solar Updraft Tower
Energies 2019, 12(18), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183506 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
The solar updraft tower (SUT) is a renewable power generation system that uses natural air convection from the ground that is heated by solar radiation. Placing flow-guide structures within the collector of the SUT can enhance aerodynamic performance, and hence, increase the kinetic [...] Read more.
The solar updraft tower (SUT) is a renewable power generation system that uses natural air convection from the ground that is heated by solar radiation. Placing flow-guide structures within the collector of the SUT can enhance aerodynamic performance, and hence, increase the kinetic power. Here, we propose a central guide post (CGP) structure in the SUT that controls updraft flow. The effect of the CGP geometry on aerodynamic performance was investigated using computational fluid dynamics modeling (ANSYS Fluent 19.2) to show that a CGP can play a positive role by preventing stagnation of the airflow at the center of the collector, resulting in increased kinetic power output (up to ~2%). However, excessively long CGPs retarded airflow, resulting in a dramatic decrease in kinetic power output. We also investigated a system with both a CGP (to improve aerodynamic performance and minimize energy loss) and a heat-exchange baffle (to maximize thermal energy transfer). When installed with a proper distance between components, the CGP and baffle showed a combined effect of increasing the kinetic power output by up to 10%. We expect that our proposed method using the CGP and baffle system will contribute to the development of better future SUT technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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