International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.1, 128-143, 2020
An experimental investigation on electrical performance and characterization of thermoelectric generator
Thermoelectric generator (TEG) is an attractive renewable energy source that utilizes waste heat energy from various sources to produce electricity. In this paper, a novel method has been proposed to investigate and characterize the TEG module by determining the exact maximum power point (MPP) and estimate the TEG module dynamic parameters. A DC-DC boost converter with a simple control method is proposed to obtain I-V and I-P characteristics and extract the exact MPP of the TEG module. The electrical performance and dynamic parameters such as Seebeck coefficient and internal resistance of the TEG module have been estimated at the MPP. MATLAB software package is used to model and simulate the complete system. Then, by using a low-cost Arduino microcontroller and a standard TEG module (HZ-14HV), a test rig is built to examine the electrical performance of the TEG. A comparison among simulation, experimental, and manufacturing data sheet is done to validate the accuracy of the proposed system. The proposed system tests and characterizes a TEG module at five values of temperature differences in the range from 377 K to 457 K and analyses the MPP generated in the range from 5 to 13.8 W. The obtained results confirm that there is good agreement among the simulation, experimental, and data sheet. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time to use the boost converter to estimate the electrical characteristics and the dynamic parameters of the TEG. It can be said that the proposed DC-DC boost converter with the suggested control method is helpful for testing commercial TEG modules before implementing in a TEG system.