Improved Thermoelectric Generator Performance Using High Temperature Thermoelectric Materials
Thermoelectric generator (TEG) has received more and more attention in its application in the harvesting of waste thermal energy in automotive engines. Even though the commercial Bismuth Telluride thermoelectric material only have 5% efficiency and 250°C hot side temperature limit, it is possible to generate peak 1kW electrical energy from a heavy-duty engine. If being equipped with 500W TEG, a passenger car has potential to save more than 2% fuel consumption and hence CO2 emission reduction. TEG has advantages of compact and motionless parts over other thermal harvest technologies such as Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and Turbo-Compound (TC). Intense research works are being carried on improving the thermal efficiency of the thermoelectric materials and increasing the hot side temperature limit. Future thermoelectric modules are expected to have 10% to 20% efficiency and over 500°C hot side temperature limit.