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Development of a compact thermoelectric generator consisting of printed circuit heat exchangers

Lee, Wooram, Lee, Jaeyoung
Energy conversion and management 2018 v.171 pp. 1302-1310
cold, electric power, fluid mechanics, friction, heat exchangers, heat recovery, heat tolerance, models, temperature, thermoelectric generators, wastes
Printed circuit heat exchangers (PCHEs) are employed to improve the compactness of a thermoelectric generator (TEG). PCHEs allows miniaturization of the heat exchanger without excessive additional cost, and permit high temperature and pressure (up to 1100 K and 600 bar) of working fluid, which enable high thermoelectric conversion efficiency. To investigate the pressure loss and thermal resistance of a PCHE in detail, three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis is conducted. Experimental results of the proposed TEG with PCHEs are newly presented. The TEG provides power density of 233.1 kW/m3 at inlet temperatures of 448.15 K (hot side) and 293.15 K (cold side), which is the highest value in literature for a low-temperature TEG (<505.15 K hot side). Based on the models of friction and heat transfer in a PCHE validated by the experiment, it is noted that the flow rate required for the heat exchangers in a TEG producing a given amount of electrical power can be reduced by adaption of PCHEs. Such novel results on the TEG with PCHEs might be helpful for more compact design and expands the applicability of TEGs for waste heat recovery.