Thermoelectric module design under a given thermal input: theory and example

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Gao, Min (2013)

Established thermoelectric theory enables direct calculation of the power output and conversion efficiency if the temperature difference across a module is given. However, in some applications such as those using a radioisotope or solar radiation as a heat source, the thermal input remains constant while the temperature difference varies with the geometry of the thermoelectric module. In this paper, a theoretical framework for thermoelectric module design under a given thermal input is presented. It provides a convenient approach for module geometry optimization. The usefulness of the theory is demonstrated through a design study, in which an appropriate thermoelement length for a solar thermoelectric system is determined by considering conflicting requirements for a longer length to obtain a greater temperature difference and for a shorter length to produce a larger power output.
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