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Title: Determination of Thermoelectric Module Efficiency A Survey

The development of thermoelectrics (TE) for energy conversion is in the transition phase from laboratory research to device development. There is an increasing demand to accurately determine the module efficiency, especially for the power generation mode. For many thermoelectrics, the figure of merit, ZT, of the material sometimes cannot be fully realized at the device level. Reliable efficiency testing of thermoelectric modules is important to assess the device ZT and provide the end-users with realistic values on how much power can be generated under specific conditions. We conducted a general survey of efficiency testing devices and their performance. The results indicated the lack of industry standards and test procedures. This study included a commercial test system and several laboratory systems. Most systems are based on the heat flow meter method and some are based on the Harman method. They are usually reproducible in evaluating thermoelectric modules. However, cross-checking among different systems often showed large errors that are likely caused by unaccounted heat loss and thermal resistance. Efficiency testing is an important area for the thermoelectric community to focus on. A follow-up international standardization effort is planned.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. ORNL
  2. Marlow Industries, Inc
  3. GM R&D and Planning, Warren, Michigan
  4. AIST, Japan
  5. Fraunhofer-Institute, Freiburg, Germany
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Electronic Materials; Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 6
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
thermoelectric; module; efficiency; figure of merit