Automotive Thermoelectric Generator

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Sarah Haight


The field of thermoelectric generators (TEGs) is an exciting field with promising new technology for energy recovery and efficiency. Recent development in thermoelectric research has enabled TEGs to be used in automotive waste heat recovery. In internal combustion engines 60% of energy is lost to the environment in the form of heat through the exhaust. TEG has been designed by the BSU Thermal Science and Energy Systems Lab for fabrication using nanostructured bulk Half-Heusler thermoelectric material to recover this lost energy and improve vehicle fuel efficiency by 5%. This devices’ high temperature design, compact nature, and solid state make it ideal for automotive uses. It is designed to operate at temperature differences of up to 500o C with a 10% heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency. Using multi-physics modeling software this design was simulated using finite volume and element methods. Our configuration was chosen in order to optimize the TEG thermal efficiency and power output while minimizing the resultant pressure drop on the engine and minimizing the thermal stress on the module. Our initial TEG design has been predicted to produce nearly 200 W of electrical power with a pressure drop of 1.8 kPa and an exhaust temperature drop of 350o C. Our future work will be coordinating with automotive equipment manufactures to modify the design a commercial path of fuel efficiency enhancement using TEGs.

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