Performance of a Half-Heusler Thermoelectric Generator for Automotive Application 2018-01-0054
Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) have been researched and developed for harvesting energy from otherwise wasted heat. For automotive applications this will most likely involve using internal combustion engine exhaust as the heat source, with the TEG positioned after the catalyst system. Applications to exhaust gas recirculation systems and compressed air coolers have also been suggested. A thermoelectric generator based on half-Heusler thermoelectric materials was developed, engineered, and fabricated, targeting a gasoline passenger sedan application. This generator was installed on a gasoline engine exhaust system in a dynamometer cell, and positioned immediately downstream of the close-coupled three-way catalyst. The generator was characterized using a matrix of steady-state conditions representing the important portions of the engine map. Detailed performance results are presented. Measurements indicate the generator can produces over 300 W of power with 900 °C exhaust at relatively high flow rates, but less than 50 W when the exhaust is 600 °C and at lower flow rates. The latter condition is typical of standard test cycles and most driving scenarios.