Modelling of segmented high-performance thermoelectric generators with effects of thermal radiation, electrical and thermal contact resistances

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Date
2016
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Publisher
Nature Portfolio
Abstract

In this study, segmented thermoelectric generators (TEGs) have been simulated with various state-of-the-art TE materials spanning a wide temperature range, from 300 K up to 1000 K. The results reveal that by combining the current best p-type TE materials, BiSbTe, MgAgSb, K-doped PbTeS and SnSe with the strongest n-type TE materials, Cu-Doped BiTeSe, AgPbSbTe and SiGe to build segmented legs, TE modules could achieve efficiencies of up to 17.0% and 20.9% at Delta T = 500 K and Delta T = 700 K, respectively, and a high output power densities of over 2.1 Watt cm(-2) at the temperature difference of 700 K. Moreover, we demonstrate that successful segmentation requires a smooth change of compatibility factor s from one end of the TEG leg to the other, even if s values of two ends differ by more than a factor of 2. The influence of the thermal radiation, electrical and thermal contact effects have also been studied. Although considered potentially detrimental to the TEG performance, these effects, if well-regulated, do not prevent segmentation of the current best TE materials from being a prospective way to construct high performance TEGs with greatly enhanced efficiency and output power density.

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Keywords
FIGURE, MERIT, BULK, ENHANCEMENT, EFFICIENCY, POWER, OPTIMIZATION, PROPERTY, DESIGN, Multidisciplinary Sciences
Citation
Ouyang, Z., & Li, D. (2016). Modelling of segmented high-performance thermoelectric generators with effects of thermal radiation, electrical and thermal contact resistances. In Scientific Reports (Vol. 6, Issue 1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep24123