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Optimization Based Design of Thermoelectric Heat Pump Unit of Active Building Envelope Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Ritesh A. Khire, Achille Messac, Steven Van Dessel

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Paper No. IMECE2005-82490, pp. 161-173; 13 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Part B
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4222-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Active Building Envelope (ABE) systems represent a new thermal control technology that actively uses solar energy to compensate for passive heat losses or gains in building envelopes or other enclosures. This paper introduces the first steps in exposing the community to this new technology, and explores an optimization based design strategy for its feasible application. The overall system is discussed, while this paper also gives particular focus to the design of a key constituent component. Namely, the collection of thermoelectric heat pumps; or, the TE unit. The latter becomes an integral part of the generic enclosure, and is a collection of thermoelectric coolers, or heaters. As a critical component of the optimization based design strategy, select computationally inexpensive approximate analytical models of generic TE coolers/heaters (TE Cooler) are developed. The optimization technique is implemented to evaluate different design configurations of the TE unit. The preliminary results indicate that the total input power required to operate the TE unit decreases as the distribution density of the TE coolers increases. In addition, the thermal resistance of the heat sink (attached to the TE cooler) plays a key role in determining the number of TE coolers required. These preliminary findings may have practical implications regarding the implementation of the ABE system.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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