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Title: Thermoelectric generators incorporating phase-change materials for waste heat recovery from engine exhaust

Thermoelectric devices, intended for placement in the exhaust of a hydrocarbon fuelled combustion device and particularly suited for use in the exhaust gas stream of an internal combustion engine propelling a vehicle, are described. Exhaust gas passing through the device is in thermal communication with one side of a thermoelectric module while the other side of the thermoelectric module is in thermal communication with a lower temperature environment. The heat extracted from the exhaust gasses is converted to electrical energy by the thermoelectric module. The performance of the generator is enhanced by thermally coupling the hot and cold junctions of the thermoelectric modules to phase-change materials which transform at a temperature compatible with the preferred operating temperatures of the thermoelectric modules. In a second embodiment, a plurality of thermoelectric modules, each with a preferred operating temperature and each with a uniquely-matched phase-change material may be used to compensate for the progressive lowering of the exhaust gas temperature as it traverses the length of the exhaust pipe.
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1124618
Report Number(s):
8,646,261
12/892,983
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-000OR22725
Resource Type:
Patent
Research Org:
ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION