The Influence of Thermoelectric Materials and Operation Conditions on the Performance of Thermoelectric Generators for Automotive
An automotive engine can be more efficient if thermoelectric generators (TEG) are used to convert a portion of the exhaust gas enthalpy into electricity. Due to the relatively low cost of the incoming thermal energy, the efficiency of the TEG is not an overriding consideration. Instead, the maximum power output (MPO) is the first priority. The MPO of the TEG is closely related to not only the thermoelectric materials properties, but also the operating conditions. This study shows the development of a numerical TEG model integrated with a plate-fin heat exchanger, which is designed for automotive waste heat recovery (WHR) in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) path in a diesel engine. This model takes into account the following factors: the exhaust gas properties’ variation along the flow direction, temperature influence on the thermoelectric materials, thermal contact effect, and heat transfer leakage effect. Its accuracy has been checked using engine test data.