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Power Generation Efficiency with Extremely Large Z factor Thermoelectric Material

  • Kazuaki Yazawa (a1) and Ali Shakouri (a1)

A recently developed generic model of a thermoelectric power generation system suggests a promising future for cost effective and scalable power generation. The model is based on co-optimizing the thermoelectric module together with the heat sink. Using this model, efficiency at maximum output power is calculated. It is shown that this approaches the Curzon-Ahlborn limit at very large Z values which is consistent with thermodynamic systems with irreversible heat engines. However, this happens only when the thermal resistances of the thermoelectric device with hot and cold heat sinks exactly match. For asymmetrical thermal resistances, the efficiency at maximum output power is different. This is consistent with the very recent results for the thermodynamic engines. Finally, we study the impact of lowering the thermal conductivity of the thermoelectric material or increasing its power factor and how these affect the performance of the thermoelectric power generation system.

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MRS Online Proceedings Library (OPL)
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1946-4274
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