High efficiency segmented thermoelectric unicouples

Caillat, Thierry; Borshchevsky, Alex; Snyder, Jeff; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p1508
Academic Journal
A new version of a segmented thermoelectric unicouple incorporating advanced thermoelectric materials with superior thermoelectric figures of merit has been recently proposed and is currently being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The advanced segmented unicouple currently being developed would operate over a 300 to 975 K temperature difference and the predicted efficiency is about 15%. There has been recently a growing interest for thermoelectric power generation using various waste heat sources such as the combustion of solid waste, geothermal energy, power plants, automobile, and other industrial heat-generating processes. Hot-side temperatures ranging from 370 to 1000 K have been reported in the literature for some of these potential applications. Although the segmented unicouple currently being developed is expected to operate at a hot-side temperature of 975 K, the segmentation can be adjusted to accommodate various hot-side temperatures depending on the specific application. This paper illustrates various segmentation options corresponding to hot-side temperatures ranging from 675 to 975K. The predicted efficiency and characteristics of the corresponding unicouples are described. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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