Power generation characteristics of a sandwich-type self-heating thermoelectric generator with spatially varying embedded heat source

Soojin Shin, Semi Bang, Jiyeon Choi, Hyo Ju Son, Hyejin Yoon, Hanla Yun, Jung Hyun Choi, Daehyun Wee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Summary: Power generation characteristics of a sandwich-type thermoelectric generator in which the heat source is embedded into thermoelectric elements are investigated. Our previous work on a similar concept only considered a uniform heat source distribution inside thermoelectric elements. In this work, the effect of the spatial distribution of a heat source is examined. In particular, the effect of the concentration of heat source near the one end, that is, the hot end, is intensively studied as a potential means of improving the efficiency of the device. Although the effects of heat source concentration in impractical cases without heat transfer limitations on the cold side remain ambiguous, it become clear that heat source concentration indeed has positive effects in more realistic cases with finite heat transfer coefficients imposed on the cold side. Because of the relatively low efficiency of typical thermoelectric generation, a significant amount of heat must be dissipated from the cold end of the thermoelectric element. Greater heat source concentration near the hot end leads to more effective utilization of available heat source, reduces the amount of heat rejected at the cold end, and lowers the hot end temperature of the thermoelectric element. Overall, it is suggested that heat source concentration can be used as a method to achieve more efficient operation and better structural integrity of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-859
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • Efficiency
  • Heat transfer
  • Power density
  • Radioactive isotopes
  • Spatial variation
  • Thermoelectric generators

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