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Technical Paper

Towards Optimal Performance of a Thermoelectric Generator for Exhaust Waste Heat Recovery from an Automotive Engine

2018-04-03
2018-01-0050
Thermoelectric generator has very quickly become a hot research topic in the last five years because its broad application area and very attractive features such as no moving parts, low maintenance, variety of thermoelectric materials that total together cover a wide temperature range. The biggest disadvantage of the thermoelectric generator is its low conversion efficiency. So that when design and manufacture a thermoelectric generator for exhaust waste heat recovery from an automotive engine, the benefit of fuel consumption from applying a thermoelectric generator would be very sensitive to the weight, the dimensions, the cost and the practical conversion efficiency. Additionally, the exhaust gas conditions vary with the change of engine operating point. This creates a big challenge for the design of the hot side heat exchanger in terms of optimizing the electrical output of the thermoelectric generator during an engine transient cycle.
Technical Paper

A Comparison of Four Modelling Techniques for Thermoelectric Generator

2017-03-28
2017-01-0144
The application of state-of-art thermoelectric generator (TEG) in automotive engine has potential to reduce more than 2% fuel consumption and hence the CO2 emissions. This figure is expected to be increased to 5%~10% in the near future when new thermoelectric material with higher properties is fabricated. However, in order to maximize the TEG output power, there are a few issues need to be considered in the design stage such as the number of modules, the connection of modules, the geometry of the thermoelectric module, the DC-DC converter circuit, the geometry of the heat exchanger especially the hot side heat exchanger etc. These issues can only be investigated via a proper TEG model. The authors introduced four ways of TEG modelling which in the increasing complexity order are MATLB function based model, MATLAB Simscape based Simulink model, GT-power TEG model and CFD STAR-CCM+ model. Both Simscape model and GT-Power model have intrinsic dynamic model performance.
Technical Paper

The Potential of Thermoelectric Generator in Parallel Hybrid Vehicle Applications

2017-03-28
2017-01-0189
This paper reports on an investigation into the potential for a thermoelectric generator (TEG) to improve the fuel economy of a mild hybrid vehicle. A simulation model of a parallel hybrid vehicle equipped with a TEG in the exhaust system is presented. This model is made up by three sub-models: a parallel hybrid vehicle model, an exhaust model and a TEG model. The model is based on a quasi-static approach, which runs a fast and simple estimation of the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The model is validated against both experimental and published data. Using this model, the annual fuel saving, CO2 reduction and net present value (NPV) of the TEG’s life time fuel saving are all investigated. The model is also used as a flexible tool for analysis of the sensitivity of vehicle fuel consumption to the TEG design parameters. The analysis results give an effective basis for optimization of the TEG design.
Technical Paper

Optimization of the Number of Thermoelectric Modules in a Thermoelectric Generator for a Specific Engine Drive Cycle

2016-04-05
2016-01-0232
Two identical commercial Thermo-Electric Modules (TEMs) were assembled on a plate type heat exchanger to form a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) unit in this study. This unit was tested on the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) flow path of a test engine. The data collected from the test was used to develop and validate a steady state, zero dimensional numerical model of the TEG. Using this model and the EGR path flow conditions from a 30% torque Non-Road Transient Cycle (NRTC) engine test, an optimization of the number of TEM units in this TEG device was conducted. The reduction in fuel consumption during the transient test cycle was estimated based on the engine instantaneous Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC). The perfect conversion of TEG recovered electrical energy to engine shaft mechanical energy was assumed. Simulations were performed for a single TEG unit (i.e. 2 TEMs) to up to 50 TEG units (i.e. 100 TEMs).
Technical Paper

The Influence of Thermoelectric Materials and Operation Conditions on the Performance of Thermoelectric Generators for Automotive

2016-04-05
2016-01-0219
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.
Technical Paper

Using a Statistical Machine Learning Tool for Diesel Engine Air Path Calibration

2014-09-30
2014-01-2391
A full calibration exercise of a diesel engine air path can take months to complete (depending on the number of variables). Model-based calibration approach can speed up the calibration process significantly. This paper discusses the overall calibration process of the air-path of the Cat® C7.1 engine using statistical machine learning tool. The standard Cat® C7.1 engine's twin-stage turbocharger was replaced by a VTG (Variable Turbine Geometry) as part of an evaluation of a novel air system. The changes made to the air-path system required a recalculation of the air path's boost set point and desired EGR set point maps. Statistical learning processes provided a firm basis to model and optimize the air path set point maps and allowed a healthy balance to be struck between the resources required for the exercise and the resulting data quality.
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