THERMOELECTRIC GENERATOR (TEG) SYSTEM DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE TESTING THROUGH HEAT EXCHANGER NETWORKS

Open Access
Author:
Patel, Shiven Rajendra
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Alexander Rattner, Thesis Supervisor
  • Sean Brennan, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Heat Transfer
  • Thermoelectric
  • Waste Heat
  • TEG
Abstract:
One of the challenges limiting the implementation of thermoelectric material in thermal systems, in which significant heat is lost to the environment, is its limited power generation efficiency. A team of researchers led by Penn State are designing, building and optimizing a waste heat absorption facility through Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) modules to understand the optimal conditions for TEG performance. This thesis focuses on the design of an HX Enclosure to enhance heat transfer from the heat source to the TEGs and the testing of the waste heat recovery system. The system is built as a TEG/Oil Loop, in which inlet air and cold oil (Paratherm NF) flow through the designed HX Enclosure. The design of the enclosure was done through SolidWorks modeling, and the testing of the system required a variety of thermocouple sensors to monitor relevant temperatures and flow rates. This thesis presents results from an initial theoretical model, calculated through modeling the system’s thermal resistance network, and results from tests conducted on the system at various inlet temperature and flow rate conditions to understand the effects varying these inputs have on TEG performance. These performance tests will allow engineers to understand the viability of assumptions made in the theoretical model. The work in this thesis analyzes the significance of these test results and provides insight into understanding the optimal conditions for the TEG’s performance.