Integrated optimization of thermoelectric systems
Author(s)Schlenker, Aaron Paul.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Asegun S. Henry and Kasey J. Russell.
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Thermoelectric devices present unique opportunities for sustainable energy conversion. While research efforts have remarkably improved material capabilities over the past several decades, material advancement alone is insufficient to realize the full potential of thermoelectric technology [25, 24, 39, 14]. Here, an integrated perspective is applied to thermoelectric technology to identify potential system improvements. The traditional thermoelectric architecture is dissected to identify limitations. It is found that the coupling of the device height to the thermoelectric element height imposed by the architecture can significantly hinder performance. A novel distributed architecture, which de-couples the device and element heights, is theorized to address these limitations. A modeling program incorporating device parameters and external conditions is developed to simulate and optimize the system architecture. The new architecture is shown to out-perform the traditional architecture in both a broad range of general generation and refrigeration conditions and the specific application of a phase-change material thermoelectric generator. The results signal the importance and potential value of an integrated approach to thermoelectric system design.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, May, 2020Cataloged from the official PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 99-103).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology