With the growing emphasis on energy efficiency because of environmental, political, and economic reasons and the fact there has been significant advances in thermoelectric materials, there is a renewed interest in using thermoelectrics for waste heat recovery. A mathematical model of a thermoelectric power system is developed from a heat transfer analysis of a waste heat recovery system. The model is validated by altering design parameters of a small prototype thermoelectric system that converts heat into electricity. A heated air stream is produced using an exhaust simulation test stand and provides the waste heat source for the prototype. The prototype is designed to be able to change several system parameters such as different heat sinks, thermoelectric module counts, and module configurations to better validate the developed model. The model does predict the electrical performance with typical accuracy of 30% error from the prototype over a range of configurations and operating conditions. A feasibility study using the validated model was used to determine under what conditions this technology will become economically viable, such as remote power generation with 20 year payback.

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