, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1582-1591
Date: 10 Nov 2012

TEG On-Vehicle Performance and Model Validation and What It Means for Further TEG Development

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A high-temperature thermoelectric generator (TEG) was recently integrated into two passenger vehicles: a BMW X6 and a Lincoln MKT. This effort was the culmination of a recently completed Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored thermoelectric (TE) waste heat recovery program for vehicles (award #DE-FC26-04NT42279). During this 7-year program, several generations of thermoelectric generators were modeled, designed, built, and tested at the couple, engine, and full-device level, as well as being modeled and integrated at the vehicle level. In this paper, we summarize the history of the development efforts and results achieved during the project, which is a motivation for ongoing research in this field. Results are presented and discussed for bench, engine dynamometer, and on-vehicle tests conducted on the current-generation TEG. On the test bench, over 700 W of power was produced. Over 600 W was produced in on-vehicle tests. Both steady-state and transient models were validated against the measured performance of these TEGs. The success of this work has led to a follow-on DOE-sponsored TE waste heat recovery program for passenger vehicles focused on addressing key technical and business-related topics that are meant to enable TEGs to be considered as a viable automotive product in the future.