CFD Modeling of Thermoelectric Generators in Automotive EGR-coolers
Journal article, 2012
A large amount of the waste heat in the exhaust gases from diesel engines is removed in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler. Introducing a thermoelectric generator (TEG) in an EGR cooler requires a completely new design of the heat exchanger. To accomplish that a model of the TEG-EGR system is required. In this work, a transient 3D CFD model for simulation of gas flow, heat transfer and power generation has been developed. This model allows critical design parameters in the TEG-EGR to be identified and design requirements for the systems to be specified. Besides the prediction of Seebeck, Peltier, Thomson and Joule effects, the simulations also give detailed insight to the temperature gradients in the gas-phase and inside the thermoelectric (TE) elements. The model is a very valuable tool to identify bottlenecks, improve design, select optimal TE materials and operating conditions. The results show that the greatest heat transfer resistance is located in the gas phase and it is critical to reduce this in order to achieve a large temperature difference over the thermoelectric elements without compromising on the maximum allowable pressure drop in the system. Further results from an investigation of the thermoelectric performance during a vehicle test cycle is presented.