The Optimization of Thermoelectric Module Size in a Waste Heat Power Generation System
Semiconductor thermoelectric generation technology, due to its special merits of quiet operation, light weight,
and compact structure, and especially its promising applications to waste heat recovery, is becoming a noticeable research field. In this paper, a new mathematical thermoelectric generation (TEG) series physical model, using
multi-element semiconductors with considerations of external and internal irreversibility, and temperature variation - along with fluid flow direction, is built. In addition, by deducing new power output formula and using Fortran computer programming, the theoretical analysis on thermoelectric performances such as temperature distribution, electromotive force, current, power output and efficiency, are demonstrated. And the functional relationship between the thermoelectric power generation and the TEG module geometric parameters, including length, width, and area parameters, is developed. Some new results are obtained in this paper. The power output has a great relationship with the geometric dimensions of the TEG module, and depends only on the module area rather than the length and width dimensions. An optimal area exists corresponding to the maximum power output, having the characteristic of having a 'balance point', but no 'turning point' by revealing the inner relations between electromotive force and internal resistance.