Multiphysics CFD Simulation for Design and Analysis of Thermoelectric Power Generation
Journal article, 2020
The multiphysics simulation methodology presented in this paper permits extension of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to account for electric power generation and its effect on the energy transport, the Seebeck voltage, the electrical currents in thermoelectric systems. The energy transport through Fourier, Peltier, Thomson and Joule mechanisms as a function of temperature and electrical current, and the electrical connection between thermoelectric modules, is modeled using subgrid CFD models which make the approach computational efficient and generic. This also provides a solution to the scale separation problem that arise in CFD analysis of thermoelectric heat exchangers and allows the thermoelectric models to be fully coupled with the energy transport in the CFD analysis. Model validation includes measurement of the relevant fluid dynamic properties (pressure and temperature distribution) and electric properties (current and voltage) for a turbulent flow inside a thermoelectric heat exchanger designed for automotive applications. Predictions of pressure and temperature drop in the system are accurate and the error in predicted current and voltage is less than 1.5% at all exhaust gas flow rates and temperatures studied which is considered very good. Simulation results confirm high computational efficiency and stable simulations with low increase in computational time compared to standard CFD heat-transfer simulations. Analysis of the results also reveals that even at the lowest heat transfer rate studied it is required to use a full two way coupling in the energy transport to accurately predict the electric power generation.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multiphysics