Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Search results for: Thermoelectric cooler

2 Analysis of Thermoelectric Coolers as Energy Harvesters for Low Power Embedded Applications

Authors: Yannick Verbelen, Sam De Winne, Niek Blondeel, Ann Peeters, An Braeken, Abdellah Touhafi

Abstract:

The growing popularity of solid state thermoelectric devices in cooling applications has sparked an increasing diversity of thermoelectric coolers (TECs) on the market, commonly known as “Peltier modules”. They can also be used as generators, converting a temperature difference into electric power, and opportunities are plentiful to make use of these devices as thermoelectric generators (TEGs) to supply energy to low power, autonomous embedded electronic applications. Their adoption as energy harvesters in this new domain of usage is obstructed by the complex thermoelectric models commonly associated with TEGs. Low cost TECs for the consumer market lack the required parameters to use the models because they are not intended for this mode of operation, thereby urging an alternative method to obtain electric power estimations in specific operating conditions. The design of the test setup implemented in this paper is specifically targeted at benchmarking commercial, off-the-shelf TECs for use as energy harvesters in domestic environments: applications with limited temperature differences and space available. The usefulness is demonstrated by testing and comparing single and multi stage TECs with different sizes. The effect of a boost converter stage on the thermoelectric end-to-end efficiency is also discussed.

Keywords: Thermoelectric cooler, TEC, complementary balanced energy harvesting, step-up converter, DC/DC converter, embedded systems, energy harvesting, thermal harvesting.

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1 An Experimental Investigation of Thermoelectric Air-Cooling Module

Authors: Yu-Wei Chang, Chiao-Hung Cheng, Wen-Fang Wu, Sih-Li Chen

Abstract:

This article experimentally investigates the thermal performance of thermoelectric air-cooling module which comprises a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) and an air-cooling heat sink. The influences of input current and heat load are determined. And performances under each situation are quantified by thermal resistance analysis. Since TEC generates Joule heat, this nature makes construction of thermal resistance network difficult. To simplify the analysis, this article emphasizes on the resistance heat load might meet when passing through the device. Therefore, the thermal resistances in this paper are to divide temperature differences by heat load. According to the result, there exists an optimum input current under every heating power. In this case, the optimum input current is around 6A or 7A. The performance of the heat sink would be improved with TEC under certain heating power and input current, especially at a low heat load. According to the result, the device can even make the heat source cooler than the ambient. However, TEC is not always effective at every heat load and input current. In some situation, the device works worse than the heat sink without TEC. To determine the availability of TEC, this study figures out the effective operating region in which the TEC air-cooling module works better than the heat sink without TEC. The result shows that TEC is more effective at a lower heat load. If heat load is too high, heat sink with TEC will perform worse than without TEC. The limit of this device is 57W. Besides, TEC is not helpful if input current is too high or too low. There is an effective range of input current, and the range becomes narrower when the heat load grows.

Keywords: Thermoelectric cooler, TEC, electronic cooling, heat sink.

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