COMSOL Multiphysics® Simulation of TEGs for Waste Thermal Energy Harvesting
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The U.S. Navy relies on power to operate its systems effectively to complete missions worldwide. Many of these systems generate thermal energy, which is typically lost to the environment and not useful within the system. Capturing the energy that would otherwise be lost and recycling it in the system provides the opportunity to improve the system's efficiency, reduce heat signatures, and decrease some cooling requirements. Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs), which create voltage when exposed to a temperature differential, have the potential to recover the waste heat from naval systems and recycle it back into the system. Modeling and simulation helps establish the feasibility of building a tabletop prototype, thus helping explore whether TEGs have the potential to increase the energy efficiency of military systems. The purpose of this study was to build a model in COMSOL® to simulate a potential prototype system of a TEG array on the muffler of a portable generator. The model will help determine the temperature difference between the TEG sidings, as a measure of the array’s efficiency. COMSOL® simulation showed that the average temperature difference between the TEG sidings was 37.52 °C. COMSOL® modeling effort’s output will inform design, construction, and testing of a tabletop TEG array energy harvesting prototype for employment on the generator exhaust. Prototype actual performance will be compared to COMSOL® output to check the validity of the model, before using it to design a larger-scale version for actual shipboard deployment and testing.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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