Characterization of thermoelectric generators (TEG) is widely discussed and equipment has been built that can perform such analysis. One method is often used to perform such characterization: constant temperature with variable thermal power input. Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) methods for TEG systems are mostly tested under steady-state conditions for different constant input temperatures. However, for most TEG applications, the input temperature gradient changes, exposing the MPPT to variable tracking conditions. An example is the exhaust pipe on hybrid vehicles, for which, because of the intermittent operation of the internal combustion engine, the TEG and its MPPT controller are exposed to a cyclic temperature profile. Furthermore, there are no guidelines on how fast the MPPT must be under such dynamic conditions. In the work discussed in this paper, temperature gradients for TEG integrated in several applications were evaluated; the results showed temperature variation up to 5°C/s for TEG systems. Electrical characterization of a calcium–manganese oxide TEG was performed at steady-state for different input temperatures and a maximum temperature of 401°C. By using electrical data from characterization of the oxide module, a solar array simulator was emulated to perform as a TEG. A trapezoidal temperature profile with different gradients was used on the TEG simulator to evaluate the dynamic MPPT efficiency. It is known that the perturb and observe (P&O) algorithm may have difficulty accurately tracking under rapidly changing conditions. To solve this problem, a compromise must be found between the magnitude of the increment and the sampling frequency of the control algorithm. The standard P&O performance was evaluated experimentally by using different temperature gradients for different MPPT sampling frequencies, and efficiency values are provided for all cases. The results showed that a tracking speed of 2.5 Hz can be successfully implemented on a TEG system to provide ∼95% MPPT efficiency when the input temperature is changing at 5°C/s.
- Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)
- oxide module
- perturb-and-observe (P&O)
- temperature profile
- thermoelectric generator (TEG) systems
Man, E. A., Sera, D., Mathe, L., Schaltz, E., & Rosendahl, L. (2016). Dynamic Performance of Maximum Power Point Trackers in TEG Systems Under Rapidly Changing Temperature Conditions. Journal of Electronic Materials, 45(3), 1309-1315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11664-015-4015-y