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31 March 2009 Thermoelectric power generation for hybrid-electric vehicle auxiliary power
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The plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) concept allows for a moderate driving range in electric mode but uses an onboard range extender to capitalize on the high energy density of fuels using a combustion-based generator, typically using an internal combustion engine. An alternative being developed here is a combustion-based thermoelectric generator in order to develop systems technologies which capitalize on the high power density and inherent benefits of solid-state thermoelectric power generation. This thermoelectric power unit may find application in many military, industrial, and consumer applications including range extension for PHEVs. In this research, a baseline prototype was constructed using a novel multi-fuel atomizer with diesel fuel, a conventional thermoelectric heat exchange configuration, and a commercially available bismuth telluride module (maximum 225°C). This prototype successfully demonstrated the viability of diesel fuel for thermoelectric power generation, provided a baseline performance for evaluating future improvements, provided the mechanism to develop simulation and analysis tools and methods, and highlighted areas requiring development. The improvements in heat transfer efficiency using catalytic combustion were evaluated, the system was redesigned to operate at temperatures around 500 °C, and the performance of advanced high temperature thermoelectric modules was examined.
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Leon M. Headings, Gregory N. Washington, Shawn Midlam-Mohler, and Joseph P. Heremans "Thermoelectric power generation for hybrid-electric vehicle auxiliary power", Proc. SPIE 7290, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2009, 72900E (31 March 2009);

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