Analysis of Potential and Efficiency of Electric Generation Using Thermoelectric Effect
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Charris Stand, Daniela María
This research identifies the electrical potential associated with Thermoelectric Generators (TEG) under the incidence of solar rays and performs efficiency comparison using this type of devices and those photovoltaic. TEG characterization and modeling is presented to favor the estimation of the electrical potential, defined as power density (W/m2). The proper operation of thermal harvesting lays in maintaining a temperature difference of at least 26.31K between the TEG sides. With this requirement fulfilled, power conversion eficiencies of about 26.43% are obtained, higher than that of high-quality solar panels and without efficiency reductions associated with heating and soiling, while keeping the same superficial area of only 16cm 2. An estimate of at least 407.3mW corresponding to 2.44Wh of available energy is found considering specific operation hours determined statistically for a given geographic location. Thus, given such performance metric, a complete power unit is devised complementing the thermoelectric energy harvesting with a Li-Po battery to guarantee in that way a continuous operation. The total energy available from the prototype allows maintaining a battery discharge percentage of 38.05% considering the energy budget of a low-power remote sensor.