Optimization of thermoelectric generator module spacing and spreader thickness used in a waste heat recovery system

Jiin Yuh Jang, Ying Chi Tsai

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79 Citations (Scopus)


When thermoelectric generator (TEG) modules are attached to a rectangular chimney plate for venting hot flue gases, the power generated per unit surface area (power density) is strongly dependent on the TEG module spacing. The thermoelectric module consists of a hot plate, a spreader, a thermoelectric generator and a cold plate based on water cooling. In this study, the optimization of TEG module spacing and its spreader thickness as used in a waste heat recovery system is investigated and solved numerically using the finite difference method along with a simplified conjugate-gradient method. The power density for a thermoelectric module is the objective function to be maximized. A search for the optimum module spacing (S) and spreader thickness (H sp), ranging from 40 mm < S < 300 mm and 1 mm < H sp < 30 mm, respectively, is performed. The effects of different operating conditions, including the temperature difference between the waste gas and the cooling water (ΔT = 200-800 K), and effective waste gas heat transfer coefficients (hh = 20-80 W/m2 K) are discussed in detail. The predicted numerical data for the power vs. current (P-I) curve are in good agreement (within 8%) with the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-689
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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