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Feasibility of Thermoelectric Waste Heat Recovery in Large Scale Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Jacob LaManna, David Ortiz, Mark Livelli, Samuel Haas, Chinedu Chikwem, Brittany Ray, Robert Stevens

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Paper No. IMECE2008-68676, pp. 1317-1324; 8 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 10: Heat Transfer, Fluid Flows, and Thermal Systems, Parts A, B, and C
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, October 31–November 6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4871-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3840-2
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


With the growing emphasis on energy efficiency because of environmental, political, and economic reasons and the fact there has been significant advances in thermoelectric materials, there is a renewed interest in using thermoelectrics for waste heat recovery. A mathematical model of a thermoelectric power system is developed from a heat transfer analysis of a waste heat recovery system. The model is validated by altering design parameters of a small prototype thermoelectric system that converts heat into electricity. A heated air stream is produced using an exhaust simulation test stand and provides the waste heat source for the prototype. The prototype is designed to be able to change several system parameters such as different heat sinks, thermoelectric module counts, and module configurations to better validate the developed model. The model does predict the electrical performance with typical accuracy of 30% error from the prototype over a range of configurations and operating conditions. A feasibility study using the validated model was used to determine under what conditions this technology will become economically viable, such as remote power generation with 20 year payback.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME
Topics: Heat recovery



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