Numerical Study of Thermoelectric Power Generation with Rectangular-Fin Elements
Yutaka Oda and Hideo Yoshida
A two-dimensional simulation on the unit structure of a novel thermoelectric module consisting of rectangular-fin elements was conducted to obtain the detailed temperature and electric potential fields of the element, and to compare the results with those of the one-dimensional theory. Numerically predicted power density and thermoelectric conversion efficiency agreed well with those predicted by one-dimensional theory at a small ratio of the element height to thickness, H/t < 3.5, and surprisingly showed better performance at H/t >4.0. This was caused by a decrease of the thermal conductance of the rectangular-fin element at H/t > 4.3, which was not predicted by the one-dimensional theory. The electrical power to pumping power ratio of more than one was found to be possible by reducing the mass flow rate even when the module is scaled down.