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Journal Article

Concept for Improving Cost Effectiveness of Thermoelectric Heat Recovery Systems

The practical application of heat recovery using thermoelectrics requires the realization of reasonable cost effectiveness. Therefore, a thermoelectric generator (TEG) structure that can compatibly increase efficiency and reduce cost was investigated with the aim of enhancing cost effectiveness. To increase efficiency, a method of using a vacuum space structure to reduce the TEG size was investigated to enable installation just after the close-coupled catalyzer, which is subject to many space restrictions. It was found that by making it possible to use high temperature exhaust heat, power generation efficiency can be increased to approximately twice that of the typical under floor installation. In addition, coupled simulation of heat transfer and power generation using FEM, 1D cost effectiveness simulations, and bench tests were performed with the aim of reducing cost.
Journal Article

Development of State of the Art Compact and Lightweight Thermoelectric Generator Using Vacuum Space Structure

Exhaust heat recovery units that use a thermoelectric element generate electricity by creating a temperature difference in the thermoelectric element by heating one side and cooling the other side of the thermoelectric circuit (module). In this case, the general structure does not directly join the thermoelectric module with the heat sink, and instead presses the thermoelectric module against the heat sink using bolts or other means in order to prevent thermoelectric element damage due to the difference in linear expansion between the cooled and heated sides of the thermoelectric module. However, this poses the issues associated with a complex, heavy and expensive structure. Therefore, a new vacuum space structure was devised that houses the thermoelectric module in a vacuum chamber and presses the module against the heat sink using atmospheric pressure.
Journal Article

Simulation of Fuel Economy Effectiveness of Exhaust Heat Recovery System Using Thermoelectric Generator in a Series Hybrid

Simulation was employed to estimate the fuel economy enhancement from the application of an exhaust heat recovery system using a thermoelectric generator (TEG) in a series hybrid. The properties of the thermoelectric elements were obtained by self-assessment and set as the conditions for estimating the fuel economy. It was concluded that applying exhaust system insulation and forming the appropriate combination of elements with differing temperature properties inside the TEG could yield an enhancement of about 3% in fuel economy. An actual vehicle was also used to verify the calculation elements in the fuel economy simulation, and their reliability was confirmed.