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Proceedings Paper

High-efficiency energy harvesting using TAGS-85/half-Heusler thermoelectric devices
Author(s): Gary Bulman; Bruce Cook
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Paper Abstract

To improve the thermal-to-electrical conversion efficiency of waste exhaust heat at temperatures in the vicinity of 750°C, RTI has combined two different high-performance materials to form a high ZT, hybrid thermoelectric (TE) device. Recently-developed enhanced “TAGS-85”, or e-TAGS, was employed as the p-leg, while the n leg was comprised of improved half-Heusler (HH) material. This hybrid material pair provides a high ZT, lead-free TE material solution for exhaust gas heat recovery for use in vehicle or industrial platforms. The improved HH material employs two novel techniques to reduce thermal conductivity: (1) high-energy milling, and (2) addition of coherent inclusions. Single n-/pcouples were produced that achieved a 9.2% efficiency with a power output of 205mW for Thot = 559°C and ΔT = 523K. This is a significant efficiency improvement at a lower hot side temperature with the hybrid e-TAGS/HH single couple over the performance of a conventional, all HH couple. By optimizing the cross sectional areas of the pellets for equal heat flow, the resulting asymmetric couple achieved 10.5% efficiency with a maximum power output of 317 mW at Thot = 537°C and ΔT = 497°C. A 49-couple hybrid module using other advanced HH materials paired with e-TAGS and operated with Thot up to 600°C reached a maximum efficiency of 10%. The improved module efficiency is believed to be due to both improved materials and optimized cross-sectional area ratios between the n- and p- elements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 June 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9115, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications V, 911507 (5 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057661
Show Author Affiliations
Gary Bulman, RTI International (United States)
Bruce Cook, RTI International (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9115:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications V
Nibir K. Dhar; Palani Balaya; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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