High temperature energy harvester for wireless sensors
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014
Implementing energy harvesters and wireless sensors in jet engines will simplify development and decrease costs by reducing the need for cables. Such a device could include a small thermoelectric generator placed in the cooling channels of the jet engine where the temperature is between 500-900 degrees C. This paper covers the synthesis of suitable thermoelectric materials, design of module and proof of concept tests of a thermoelectric module. The materials and other design variables were chosen based on an analytic model and numerical analysis. The module was optimized for 600-800 degrees C with the thermoelectric materials n-type Ba8Ga16Ge30 and p-type La-doped Yb14MnSb11, both with among the highest reported figure-of-merit values, zT, for bulk materials in this region. The materials were synthesized and their structures confirmed by x-ray diffraction. Proof of concept modules containing only two thermoelectric legs were built and tested at high temperatures and under high temperature gradients. The modules were designed to survive an ambient temperature gradient of up to 200 degrees C. The first measurements at low temperature showed that the thermoelectric legs could withstand a temperature gradient of 123 degrees C and still be functional. The high temperature measurement with 800 degrees C on the hot side showed that the module remained functional at this temperature.