A Thermoelectric Generation System and Its Power Electronics Stage

Junling Gao, Kai Sun, Longxian Ni, Min Chen, Zhengdong Kang, Li Zhang, Yan Xing, Jianzhong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The electricity produced by a thermoelectric generator (TEG) must satisfy the requirements of specific loads given the signal level, stability, and power performance. In the design of such systems, one major challenge involves the interactions between the thermoelectric power source and the power stage and signal-conditioning circuits of the load, including DC–DC conversion, the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) controller, and other power management controllers. In this paper, a survey of existing power electronics designs for TEG systems is presented first. Second, a flat, wall-like TEG system consisting of 32 modules is experimentally optimized, and the improved power parameters are tested. Power-conditioning circuitry based on an interleaved boost DC–DC converter is then developed for the TEG system in terms of the tested power specification. The power electronics design features a combined control scheme with an MPPT and a constant output voltage as well as the low-voltage and high-current output characteristics of the TEG system. The experimental results of the TEG system with the power electronics stage and with purely resistive loads are compared. The comparisons verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed design. Finally, the thermal–electric coupling effects caused by current-related heat source terms, such as the Peltier effect etc., are reported and discussed, and the potential influence on the power electronics design due to such coupling is analyzed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1043-1050
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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