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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/rser

An overview of cooling of thermoelectric devices MARK


a,b, b b
Muhammad Sajid , Ibrahim Hassan , Aziz Rahman
a
School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering (SMME), National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan
b
Texas A & M University at Qatar, P.O. Box 23874, Doha, Qatar

A R T I C L E I N F O A BS T RAC T

Keywords: Thermoelectric generators are an environmentally friendly source of electrical power whose applications range
Thermoelectric generator from waste heat recovery to conversion of solar energy into electricity. Low conversion eciencies however
Cooling inhibit their wide scale deployment. Research into thermoelectrics has therefore primarily focused on
Eciency improvement of material properties, leading to remarkable progress in the area which has not translated into
Thermal management
high performing thermoelectric generators. System level eciency is signicantly dependent on eective
thermal management. Heat dissipation mechanisms employed to remove waste heat from the cold side of a
thermoelectric device are reviewed in this work. The prevalent methods of cooling thermoelectric devices are
categorized and based on published experimental data, their contribution on the overall conversion eciency of
thermoelectric generators is quantied. A broad range of devices from low heat to high thermal ux have been
covered in this work and will help guide future endeavors in thermoelectric generator design and testing.

1. Introduction 2. Thermoelectric eciency

Compared with conventional electric power generators, thermo- 2.1. Theoretical eciency
electric generator (TEG) oer many advantages such as reliability, no
moving parts and environmentally friendly. TEGs accomplish this by The conversion eciency, TE is dependent on the temperature
exploiting the thermal energy of electrons (and holes) for the energy dierence T and the gure of merit ZT (the eective ZT across T )
conversion between heat and electricity. However wide scale applica- dened as ZT = (S 2T / ) and determined by the three main material
tion of TEGs has been hindered by their low productivity, due to low parameters: the Seebeck coecient or thermo power S (V / K ), the
thermal-to-electrical conversion eciencies (typically < 10%) [13] electrical resistivity ( m ) and the thermal conductivity (W /(m K ))
limiting their use in specialized military, medical and space elds. [8]. The thermoelectric eciency is given by:
Nevertheless, in applications where the thermal energy is abundant or
T TC 1+ZT 1
very low cost, as is the case with solar energy or waste heat, TEGs are TE = H
commercially viable. Two directions have been highlighted for achiev- TH 1+ZT + (TC / TH ) (1)
ing wider applications of thermoelectric devices [4], rst is to promote
The term in the rst parenthesis on the right hand side is the Carnot
the intrinsic eciencies of thermoelectric materials and the other is to
eciency of the thermoelectric device operating between hot and cold
improve the way TEMs are integrated into electrical power producing
temperature reservoirs of TH and TC respectively. As is evident from Eq.
units, of which thermal management is an important part. While there
(1), the conversion eciency depends on the operating temperature
is signicant work on hot side thermal management of TEMs, focusing
and the gure of merit.
on solar energy [5], automotive exhaust [6], and waste heat [7]; cold
The theoretical eciency of thermoelectric power generators for
side thermal management has received less attention. In this paper, we
dierent ZT s are shown in Fig. 1 against the eciencies of other power
review dierent methods used to dissipate heat from the cold side of
generation systems [9].
the TEM over a broad range of operating parameters and present their
performance parameters.
2.2. Figure of merit and eciency

During the renewed interest in thermoelectrics of the late 1900s the


Corresponding author at: School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering (SMME), National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.
E-mail addresses: m.sajid@smme.nust.edu.pk (M. Sajid), Ibrahim.hassan@qatar.tamu.edu (I. Hassan), aziz.rahman@qatar.tamu.edu (A. Rahman).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.04.098
Received 18 October 2015; Received in revised form 21 April 2017; Accepted 27 April 2017
1364-0321/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Fig. 1. Comparison of power generation systems. From [9].

gure of merit of available materials was as low as ZT 1 [10,11]


shown in the gure in an enclosed region and these were not
competitive against conventional power generators. However because
of their noiseless operation, exibility and form factor they still found
niche applications. In search of broader applications fundamental
research in thermoelectrics has therefore focused on maximizing the
conversion eciency by developing new, high-eciency thermoelectric
materials with ZT 3 4 [12,13] which is sucient to make them
competitive against conventional power generation including geother-
mal and alkaline cells (Fig. 1). In order to accomplish this, the
challenges lie in predicting the structures of materials, their electron
and phonon band structures and transport properties, as well as in
understanding the impact of defects in the materials on transport
properties. In a recent eort, Zhang et al. [14] used complex parameter
optimization to design module structures that minimize energy losses
using Bi2Te3-based alloys and CoSb3-based skutterudites to achieve a
peak ZT 1.2 . However, their design resulted in a conversion eciency
of 12% while operating across a temperature dierence of 541 degrees Fig. 2. Ratio of thermoelectric eciency to Carnot eciency as a function of the gure of
and a cold side temperature maintained at 35 C, comparable to a merit for a range of temperature dierences.
ZT 2.0 . Similarly, Kraemer et al. [15] achieved a peak eciency of
9.6% by employing segmented thermoelectric legs, coupled with solar the eciency of Carnot cycle (a thermodynamic limit) while operating
and thermal concentration. at room temperature (30 C) and a temperature dierence of 250 C. It
Signicant boosts in the peak ZT over the benchmark value of 1 also highlights the limited performance enhancement above a tem-
have been reviewed by Z Ren [3] covering many conventional materials perature dierence of 250 C, an average increase in eciency of 0.1%
such as Bi2Te3-based alloys, PbTe, PbSe, SiGe, Mg2X (X = Si, Ge, Sn), for every 50 C temperature rise up to a maximum of 1000 C above
skutterudite, calthrate, Zintl and half-Heusler alloys. These increases room temperature. These next generation thermoelectrics (ZT 23)
have been achieved by tailoring electron transport through nanoscale have already found applications in waste heat recovery in automobiles
approach to engineering band structure and tuning phonon transport. amongst other uses [21,22]. In addition, thermoelectric are used as
Recently the ZT of Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 (bismuth antimony telluride) was coolers to provide cold beverages, as well as in wristwatches and
increased to 1.86 0.15 at 320 K by reducing lattice thermal con- pacemakers by exploiting the very small temperature dierences within
ductivity through grain boundary and point-defect scattering targeting the body or between a body and the environment [23,24].
high-and-low frequency phonons [16]. Earlier a ZT value of 2.2 at 915
K in p-type PbTe endotaxially nanostructured with SrTe was demon- 2.3. Thermal dependence of eciency
strated by going beyond nanostructing through a panoscopic approach
to the scattering of heat-carrying phonons across integrated length While the advancement in materials development is encouraging,
scales [17]. An unprecedented ZT of 2.6 0.3 at 923 K was reported by the budding range of materials and the reports of ascending ZT s
Kanatzidis and coworkers for SnSe single crystals and attributed to its conceal the fundamental challenges of employing these materials in
ultralow lattice thermal conductivity [18]. Thus several new bulk energy conversion on an appreciable scale. Despite these promising
materials that demonstrate ZT 23 have been identied in literature results, the eciency gains at device level has yet to be demonstrated.
[13,19,20] and mechanisms for decoupling electron transport from For example the theoretical solar-to-electricity eciency of Si-Ge alloys
phonon transport in such materials through modication are under operated at a temperature of 1000 K is 12% [25] compared to
investigation for further improvement of the gure of merit. experimental ndings of eciencies <1% [26] for conversion of
To understand the contribution of ZT on the performance of the concentrated solar radiation by directly irradiated TE modules oper-
thermoelectric device, the ratio of thermoelectric eciency (Eq. (1)) ated at 900 K on the hot side. Studies reveal that with high-tempera-
and Carnot eciency are plotted against increasing ZT in Fig. 2 for ture TEMs 60% of the incident solar radiation is lost due to reradiation
temperature dierences ranging from 50 to 1000 C. The curve shows and only 20% is available for electricity conversion [27]. Another aspect
that a thermoelectric device with a ZT ~3 can provide close to 50% of is the variation in ZT with increase in temperature, which has been

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M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Fig. 5. Schematic of thermoelectric generator.

Fig. 3. Temperature dependence of thermoelectric eciency with increasing hot and


cold side temperatures. receiver of thermal energy that is in thermal contact with the thermo-
electric module (TEM) and an electrically insulated cooling system as
reported [28] to increase from 0.1 to 0.25 for a polycrystalline 3d- shown in Fig. 5. Not all of the irradiated energy adsorbed by the
transition metal oxide when the temperature was increased from 300 K collector is converted to electricity and much of it ends up heating the
to 800 K. device and reducing the eciency, highlighting the necessity of good
To develop a better insight into the temperature dependence we thermal management of the STEG. The cooling system is necessary to
plot thermoelectric conversion eciency against the temperature maintain the design temperature dierence across the TEM which
dierence for various ZT s (Fig. 3). For a 400% increase in hot side decreases with time due to thermal diusion.
temperature (from 250 C to 1000 C) there is < 5% increase in To limit the rise in temperature of the cold side of TEM, the next
eciency. The increase in cold side temperature has resulted in an section of this paper presents the detailed review of the existing
eciency drop by ~7 8% in comparison with Fig. 2. We isolate the thermoelectric cooling systems which have been employed in small to
eect of increase in cold side temperature in Fig. 4. Here, the decrease medium scale power generation systems (Fig. 6). Apart from these
in eciency is about 3.5% for every 50 C rise in cold side temperature methods, heat dissipation from cold of TEM has also been attempted
with a constant hot side temperature of 1030 C and ZT ~3. using phase change materials as a heat sink [31], which have
Experimental studies of the eect of incident solar radiation and cold conventionally been used to store thermal energy for the hot side of
side temperature on eciency have found similar results [29]. As TEMs. While the results of this work are encouraging the phenomena
demonstrated by He et al. [30] the electrical eciency drops from requires more detailed investigation.
1.625% to 1.255% when the water temperature goes from 25 C to
55 C. 3.1. Air cooled
These theoretical analysis shows that there is a possibility of
improving thermoelectric conversion eciency by 510% through Thermoelectric power generators with low heat ux thermal
improved thermal management, while experimental work suggests sources generally employ passive cooling and/or naturally ventilated
the prospective range to be much greater [25,26]. In another work systems to maintain cold side temperature and have been employed in
[21], the open circuit voltage was reported to be 15% less than low cost energy sources particularly waste heat and solar [3234]. A
predicted values because of insucient cooling of the cold plate at signicant contribution in this area was by Date et al. [35] who carried
higher heat uxes. out a comparative study of active and passive air cooled TEGs with
three cooling mechanisms. They presented an analytical model to
3. Cooling of thermoelectric generators (TEG) determine the maximum theoretical heat ux capacity of thermo-
electric generator followed by a comparison of the thermal perfor-
In its simplest form a thermoelectric power generator consists of a mances of two types of commercially available TEGs with their cold
sides cooled by either bare plate, n or heat pipe heat exchanger at
wind speeds ranging from 0 m/s to 5 m/s. We summarize their ndings
Table 1.
Under natural convection cooling conditions (i.e. 0 m/s wind) the
heat pipe cooling system provided lower cold side temperature of TEG
as compared to the nned or even bare plate exchangers, however the

Fig. 4. Eect of increasing cold side temperature on thermoelectric eciency. Fig. 6. Classication of thermoelectric cooling systems.

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M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Table 1
Maximum allowable heat flux at wind speeds of 0 m/s for bare plate, 1 m/s for heat pipe and 5 m/s for nned heat exchangers (based on data from [35]).

Hot side temperature Maximum allowable heat ux (kW/m2)

Bare plate 60 mm n 80 mm n 100 mm n Heat pipe

Type A 150 C 4.0 to 16.3 8.1 to 21.4 9.7 to 22.1 10.6 to 23.4 32.7 to 40.3
Type B 250 C 8.3 to 31.1 15.3 to 48.9 18.1 to 50.3 19.5 to 52.2 59.0 to 76.7

limiting heat ux value was also lower than that achieved with the high performance extruded aluminum heat sink used in the study gave
other heat exchanger congurations. This behavior can be attributed to an average cold side temperature of 123 C for a hot side temperature
the smaller n gap in heat pipe heat exchanger that restricts convection of 275 C and ambient conditions of 28 C. The indicated temperature
heat transfer which is the dominant mode of heat transfer at lower dierence across the TEG is 152 C while the open circuit voltage
temperatures. obtained implies an actual temperature dierence of 85 C. The
considerable divergence between the two was due to the contact
resistance at the interfaces between the mounting plate and heat sink.
3.1.1. Passive cooling
The principles of dry draft cooling were employed by zdemir et al.
[32] to build and test a prototype solar TEG with an isolated wind 3.1.2. Fan cooled
chimney for cooling. They presented performance data for the device The importance of managing cold side temperature in air cooled
over an eight hour daytime cycle for two days in the month of august. TEG devices has been highlighted with optimization studies [3740]
While the ambient temperature in the chimney varies from 30 C to with steady state and transient heat sources. Mastbergen and Willson
40 C the cold side temperature of TEG sees an increase from 30 C to a [41] presented a prototype TEG with a forced air-cooling for the cold
maximum of 77 C before dropping later in the day. With an eective side with a 1Wfan. The net power of 4 W generated by the TE generator
ZT <0.2 the eciencies are quite low. In Fig. 7 Ratio of thermal was sucient to power an array of high intensity LEDs.
eciency to Carnot eciency for a prototype wind chimney TEG with The used of fan cooled TEGs in automotive waste heat recovery has
naturally varying & xed cold side temperature Fig. 7 we take the been widely studied [4246]. Notably Hsu et al. [45,47] investigated a
experimentally measured hot side temperatures and compare the range of heat sink congurations while employing forced air cooling of
eciency ratios obtained using observed cold side temperatures and the cold side of the device (Fig. 8). In the earlier work three
a xed temperature of 30 C. The maximum conversion eciency congurations comprising ten, twenty two and forty four ns in their
obtained is just under 6% of Carnot eciency across the thermal heat sinks were studied in order to nd the optimal conguration.
gradient while the average eciency ratio is approximately 3% across Their system generated a maximum of 44.13 W of power at which the
the observed cycle. The curves indicate that eective thermal manage- average temperature dierence is 88.3 K with 343.7 K at the cold side
ment of cold side temperature could yield two fold increase in thermal of the TEG indicating a peak conversion eciency of 2.1%. A similar
to electrical conversion eciency averaging just above 6% with a peak conversion eciency was reported by Gou et al. [39] while forced air
of 12% of Carnot eciency. This analysis highlights the eect of heat cooling of TEG employed in industrial waste heat recovery. They were
transfer irreversibility on the performance of TEG as a signicant able to restrict the peak cold side temperature increase to a 14 K
holdup in improvement of conversion eciency. concluding that irreversibility in cold-side heat transfer is a bottle neck
The eect of prevalent wind conditions on the performance of a in the enhancement of system performance.
passively cooled solar TEG was investigated by Moraes et al. [33]. The Natural convection cooling systems while unable to deliver desir-
device features a solar evacuated tube as a heat source and a CPU able cold side temperatures, have the advantage of no parasitic power
cooler as a heat sink and is exposed to 804.1 W/m2 of articial solar consumption. Whereas forced air systems employ a widely available
radiation. Their results indicate that due to enhanced convective heat uid medium ensuring air cooled systems nd continued applications
transfer in windy conditions at the cold end of the TEM the power in low heat ux scenarios.
production increases.
Natural convection cooling was employed by Nuwayhid et al. 3.2. Water cooled
[34,36] to maintain cold side temperatures on TEG used for waste
heat recovery from a woodstove. In the rst prototype the maximum Because of the superior heat transport properties of water, it nds
power was less than one watt per module. The commercially available widespread application in TEGs [4852]. For instance, the thermal
eciency of a parabolic trough concentrator combined with TEMs
placed in the receiver tube with water cooling was found to be <4%
[53]. While a thermodynamic analysis of water cooled a parabolic dish
combined with a Bi-Te module predicted a solar-to-electricity eciency
of 2.81% at a temperature of 280 C [54]. The major drawback of
forced water cooling is that it parasitically draws power from the
generated amount reducing the net output of the TEG.

3.2.1. Natural convection


Due its limitations in heat transfer potential, natural convection
cooling of TEGs with water as a medium has received marginal
attention in past studies. Champier et al. [55] placed a TEM at the
bottom of an aluminum tank lled with water using it as a cold side
heat exchanger while the hot side consisted of a an aluminum ns that
extracted heat from exhaust air of a multifunctional biomass stove. The
Fig. 7. Ratio of thermal eciency to Carnot eciency for a prototype wind chimney TEG water in the tank used for cold heat sink would be domestic hot water
with naturally varying & xed cold side temperature (based on data from [32]). in a real application. They were able to obtain up to 9.5 W from the

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M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Fig. 8. Schematics of automotive waste heat recovery using TEG from Hsu et al. [47].

while employing active water cooling has been widely researched


[52,5963]. A microchannel heat sink was used by Fan et al. [63] to
cool the thermoelectric cell that produced 4.9 W at 2.9% electrical
eciency while operating across a 109 C temperature dierence.
Yazawa et al. [62] used a Fresnel lens to focus sunlight onto a
thermoelectric cell cooled by ambient water and produced 0.45 W
electrical power indicating an electrical conversion eciency of 1%
while 50% of the incident energy was captured by the water making it a
suitable cogeneration system. A peak conversion eciency of 0.78%
was reported by [61] using a parabolic dish concentrator with forced
convection cooling. An attempt to increase the solar to electric
conversion eciency was made [21] using a solar cavity receiver to
decrease re-radiation losses but only yielded a conversion eciency of
0.13% attributed to low gure of merit (0.05) of the thermoelectric cell.
A higher gure of merit (1) thermoelectric cell was used with an
evacuated tube solar collector to produce 64.8 W of power at 1.59%
electrical conversion eciency [52].
Many of these studies do not consider the parasitic losses incurred
in the pumps, piping and water-to-ambient heat exchangers. A
predictive computational model of a TEG waste heat dissipation system
Fig. 9. Schematic of thermoelectric power generation from salinity-gradient solar pond was developed and tested by Aranguren et al. [48,64]. Such studies are
using a thermosyphon [57]. necessary for reducing auxiliary power consumption in water cooled
TEGs. Their study found that optimization of cooling system para-
TEM in case of an almost matched load. meters (owrates, secondary heat exchanger and piping) could extend
Another reasonable alternative to forced water cooling is an open power generation by up to 40% while operating at point of least
pan heat sink consisting simply of an open- topped pan full of water resistance.
[56]. While this draws on the large latent heat of vaporization of water
its downside is the risk of dry-out at higher temperatures which
requires preventative monitoring. Singh et al. [57] used natural 3.2.3. Evaporative cooling
convection in the upper colder zone of a salinity gradient solar pond This methodology takes advantage of the high latent heat of
to cool TEM which were placed in a thermosyphon (Fig. 9) placed in vaporization of water to provide cooling to the TEM from a thermo-
between the lower hot zone and the upper cold zone of the pond. The syphoning device such as a heat pipe. In the comparative study of
designed lab scale prototype was able to produce 3.2 W of power for a various cooling devices including heat pipes, cooling ns and bare
temperature dierence of 27 C using sixteen thermoelectric cells. plates Date et al. [35] found that the lowest temperature at the cold end
of TEG was obtained by using a heat pipe. The maximum allowable
3.2.2. Forced convection heat ux for these congurations has been summarized in Table 1 for
The most widely used method of cooling TEGs is to ow cool water various wind conditions. The passive nature of the heat pipe design
over the cold side of the TEM with the only disadvantage being the makes it more attractive.
pumping cost. This has found applications in a wide range of Another interesting attempt at employing a heat pipe on the cold
technologies ranging from waste heat recovery in automobiles and side of a TEG was made by Nuwayhid and Hamade [65] employing a
industries to combined heat and power generation, some of which will loop type conguration (Fig. 10). They were able to achieve 3 W of
be reviewed here. power for a temperature dierence of 7080 C and a cold side
An experimental TEG unit was constructed by Niu et al. [51] that temperature exceeding 100 C leaving much to be desired from the
was used to examine the inuences of the main operating conditions, heat removal system.
hot and cold uid inlet temperatures, ow rates and load resistance on A theoretical model was developed by Remeli et al. [66] to predict
both power output and conversion eciency. The eect of coolant ow the waste heat recovery and electrical conversion performances using
rate on performance parameter was also part of the a study performed heat pipes on both hot and cold sides of a TEG. The experimental setup
by Chen et al. [58]. The earlier study achieved a peak conversion (Fig. 11) included a TEG enclosed between two heat pipes to achieve
eciency of 4.44% with a maximum power output of 146.5 W with cold the temperature gradient for thermoelectric power generation. For a
uid entering at 30 C and temperature dierence of 120 C. While maximum temperature dierence of 86.7 C they were able to achieve
both researchers concluded that the performance parameters depend highest conversion eciency of 2.02% with a peak 1.12 W of power
more on the heating uid ow rate and on the inlet temperature of output.
cooling uid. A four to six times increase in power produced from TEGs was
The conversion of solar energy to electrical power through TEGs reported by Djafar et al. [67] as a result of using heat pipes on for

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M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Fig. 10. Schematic of a closed loop thermosyphonic heat pipe thermoelectric generator
[65].

Fig. 12. Performance parameters (a) Eciency and (b) Power output of TEGs employ-
ing dierent heat dissipation strategies and operating between dierent temperatures.

heat dissipation abilities of the cooling methodologies detailed in


previous sections. The data listed is for conditions of peak power
output for a single TEM, eciencies have been calculated using Eq. (1).
Parameters aecting the heat exchanger like ow rates, dimensions and
n conguration have been excluded as they are not common in all
cooling devices. The cold side temperature has been chosen as the
reference in conjunction with Section 2.3, presenting analysis of
thermal dependence of conversion eciency.
Fig. 11. Outline of the heat pipe thermoelectric power generation system [66].
An obstacle preventing the deduction of concise conclusion from
these data points is the lack of a common datum plane, i.e. each device
is functioning across varying temperature gradients with a dissimilar
cooling TEMs. The use of heat pipes in conjunction with solar collectors
cold side temperature, dierent cooling mechanism and most impor-
was investigated by He et al. [30,49]. Their study found that for water
tantly, using diverse thermoelectric cells with variation in composition,
at 45 C and solar irradiation larger than 600 W/m2 the solar heat pipe
structure, and material properties. To simplify the comparative analy-
thermoelectric system may have a thermal eciency of about 55% and
sis of the performance parameters of these ve heat dissipation
an electrical eciency above 1% compared to a 34% electrical
strategies, Fig. 12 presents the eciency and power output of studied
eciency of an organic Rankine cycle. Evaporative cooling of TEG
TEGs against a spread of cold side temperatures and thermal gradients
through heat pipes has also been employed in automobiles [44] to
across the TEM.
replace the conventional radiator providing a combined power of 75 W
Most of the works included in Table 2 were carried out with
at 2.1% device eciency when employed in a 2 L engine of passenger
commercially available TEMs which generally advertise conversion
car. The vehicle was driving at 80 km/h during the test benetting from
eciencies ~4% over an average temperature gradient across the
enhanced convective transfer from the ns of the heat pipe and
module. However, we note two instances where a conversion eciency
indicated a thermal performance considerably higher than a conven-
> 4% was observed. In the rst case forced water cooling led to a cold
tional radiator due to the added advantage of heat removal by
side temperature of standard atmosphere and a temperature gradient
thermoelectric conversion.
of 120 giving an eciency of 4.44% [51]. Based on the data we estimate
a peak power output of 2.61 W/module while the parasitic losses
4. Discussion incurred by pumping coolants amount to 0.06 W/module resulting in
net power output of 2.55 W/module. While in the second case dry draft
Essential performance characteristics from published experimental cooling was used in a solar TEG to maintain the cold side of the TEM
works in TEGs are summarized in Table 1 to gain a clear perspective on which provided peak power of 0.83 W and an eciency of 4.59% at

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M. Sajid et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 78 (2017) 1522

Table 2 losses of pumping and pipe friction can be cost eective. While natural
Performance characteristics of various cooling mechanisms used in TEGs from published ventilation remains advantageous because of its independence from the
works.
provision of water source despite its lower performance parameters.
Cooling Tc, Cold side T, , P, Reference
mechanism Temperature Temperature Conversion Power 5. Conclusion
(K) across TEM eciency output
(%) (W) This work summarizes the various cooling methods that have been
Passive air 349.8 110.7 4.59 0.83 [32] employed to maintain cold side temperature of a thermoelectric
cooling 298 425 2.90 0.48 [68] generator. The dependence of thermoelectric conversion eciency on
315 135 3 1.8 [69] cold side temperature was highlighted at the beginning, laying the
318 155 4 3 [70] grounds for the necessity of focusing on cooling of TEGs. The overview
396 152 2.1 4.2 [34]
of performance parameters for the various heat rejection techniques
363 150 3.2 2.4 [71]
418 135 1.2 0.57 [72] provides useful insight into prospects of integrating these systems with
Fan cooled 318 76 2.40 1.08 [73] thermoelectric generation. Evaporative heat pipe systems have the
373 30 0.34 0.52 [47] lowest cooling potential which is useful for low temperature TEGs
343.7 88.3 2.16 5.52 [45]
while forced convection of water can cater to larger thermal systems
335 17.8 2 0.85 [39]
Passive 336 27 1 3.2 [57] with higher heat uxes. The information presented can also be used for
water 363 120 Not 9.5 [55] combining the thermoelectric generators with a heat source, designing
Available the cooling system and a standalone power generation system. This
338 160 2 2.3 [74] research shows the great potential of thermoelectric generators to be
Forced 303 270 1.59 6 [52]
combined either with concentrated solar thermal systems, industrial
water 325.7 97.4 0.78 1.75 [58]
cooling 300 600 0.13 0.86 [27] heat recovery systems or any other available heat source together with
317 109 2.90 4.9 [63] passive cooling to become a feasible technology for medium to large
303 120 4.44 2.61 [51] scale power generation with the attraction of minimal moving parts.
294 63 0.80 0.34 [75]
Finally, this review highlights the potential of improving performance
291 198 2.70 3 [76]
Heat pipe 318 55 2.10 1.04 [44]
of TEGs by rening the thermal management of cold side of the
333 86.7 2.02 1.12 [66] thermoelectric cell.

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