Waste-heat recovery with thermoelectric power generators can improve energy efficiency and provide distributed electricity generation. New thermoelectric materials and material performance improvements motivate development of thermoelectric generators for numerous applications with excess exhaust and process heat. However, thermoelectric generator product development requires solving coupled challenges in materials development and systems engineering. This review discusses these challenges and indicates ways system-level performance relies on more factors than traditional thermoelectric material performance metrics alone. Relevant thermo-mechanical and chemical material properties, system components such as thermal interface materials and heat exchangers, and system form factors are examined. Manufacturing processes and total system cost components are evaluated to provide product development and commercial feasibility contexts.
Saniya LeBlanc Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, The GeorgeWashington University,Washington, USA
Copyright:© 2014 The Author. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license