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State of the art of thermoelectric generators based on heat recovered from the exhaust gases of automobiles

J. Vázquez, R. Palacios, M.A. Sanz-Bobi, A. Arenas

The recovering of heat from exhaust gases in automobiles is a typical application of electricity generation using thermoelectricity. This paper is focused on reviewing the main characteristics and evolution of the different investigations performed over the last three decades concerning the use of thermoelectric generation using the heat from the exhaust gases produced in the combustion process of an automobile. The use and evolution of different kinds of thermoelectric materials (silicon germanium, lead telluride and bismuth telluride alloys) will be presented. Also, several main characteristics of the different structures proposed for the thermoelectric generators (TEGs) will be compared. In the review included in this paper, it would be useful to update the potential of thermoelectric generation in the automobile industry nowadays. The results presented can be considered as references of the minimum goals to be reached. Better results can be expected due to the continuous improvement in thermoelectric, thermal and insulating materials.

Keywords: Thermoelectricity, Seebeck Effect, Waste Heat, Thermoelectric Generator, Exhaust Gases

Proceedings of the 7th European Workshop on Thermoelectrics, Paper #17, 3-4 Oct 2002, Pamplona, SPAIN.

Published: October 2002.

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