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A dynamic model for thermoelectric generator applied to vehicle waste heat recovery

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journal contribution
posted on 15.11.2017, 14:25 by Song Lan, Zhijia YangZhijia Yang, Rui ChenRui Chen, Richard Stobart
Waste heat recovery using a thermoelectric generator (TEG) is a promising approach for vehicle original equipment manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. A TEG can convert otherwise wasted thermal energy from engines to electricity directly for use in the vehicle systems. This paper focuses on the development of a dynamic model of TEG system designed for vehicle waste heat recovery, which is made up of counter-flow heat exchangers (HXRs) and commercial thermoelectric modules (TEMs). The model is built from thermoelectric materials into a TEM and then into a TEG system. Compared to other TEG models, the tuning and validation process of the proposed model is more complete. Experiments are done on both a TEM test rig and a heavy-duty diesel engine, which is equipped with a prototype TEG on the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) path. Simulations of steady-state operating points as well as the response to typical engine cycle test show good agreement with experimental data. A TEG installed upstream of the after-treatment system in a heavy-duty truck has been modelled to predict the temperatures and power output in a dynamic driving cycle. The simulation results of temperatures show the model can be used as a basis to develop a control system for dynamic operation to ensure safety operation of TEG and efficient operation of the after-treatment system. A comparison of power output of the systems under different scenarios underlines the importance of integration of TEM with HXRs. Based on the simulation results, around 20% average power output increase can be expected by optimizing the thermal contact conductance and the heat transfer coefficient of hot side HXR.


This work was supported by UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) [Grant No. EP/K026658/1].



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in

Applied Energy




327 - 338


LAN, S. ... et al, 2018. A dynamic model for thermoelectric generator applied to vehicle waste heat recovery. Applied Energy, 210, pp.327-338


Elsevier (© the authors)


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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This paper is published as Open Access by Elsevier under the CC BY 4.0 licence.