Mori, M., Matsumoto, M., and Ohtani, M., "Concept for Improving Cost Effectiveness of Thermoelectric Heat Recovery Systems," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 9(1):17-24, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-0233.
The practical application of heat recovery using thermoelectrics requires the realization of reasonable cost effectiveness. Therefore, a thermoelectric generator (TEG) structure that can compatibly increase efficiency and reduce cost was investigated with the aim of enhancing cost effectiveness. To increase efficiency, a method of using a vacuum space structure to reduce the TEG size was investigated to enable installation just after the close-coupled catalyzer, which is subject to many space restrictions. It was found that by making it possible to use high temperature exhaust heat, power generation efficiency can be increased to approximately twice that of the typical under floor installation. In addition, coupled simulation of heat transfer and power generation using FEM, 1D cost effectiveness simulations, and bench tests were performed with the aim of reducing cost. These results clarified that use of a TEG with a heat concentration structure enabled to reduce the number of elements used to 1/4 and the system cost to approximately 1/2 that of the previously studied Honda system, while still maintaining approximately the same size and power output.