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There have been exciting advancements in thermoelectric materials in the past several years that could open the door to new power generation options.  Although the tremendous recent advancements in thermoelectric materials show significant improvements in power conversion, there has been limited attention on the best ways to integrate these new materials into technically and economically sound systems.  A software screening and design tool, TEPSS, is being developed to assess when and where thermoelectric generation is a viable option.  TEPSS, which will be an open source tool, will consist of modular components that are interconnected to form an energy system where the performance can quickly be optimized by varying design parameters.  TEPSS will allow engineers to examine the feasibility of using thermoelectrics with a range of heat resources and then optimize the design for specific uses.  Most modeling and progress on the application of thermoelectrics to date has treated the development of thermoelectric modules and system application separately or loosely coupled.  TEPSS will strongly couple the module and system design.  This innovative approach will allow the exploration of the interplay between thermoelectric module efficiency and heat recovery, which is critical where co-generation or recuperators are being considered.

The project goal of the TEPSS tool is to quickly and effectively answer “Are thermoelectrics currently or will they in the near future be technically and economically viable for a specific application and if so what would the optimal system look like?”  The TEPSS tool should also help quickly assess a range of potential applications for waste heat recovery and explore the potential applications for a next generation thermoelectric material.  The plan is for the TEPSS tool to be available free to help accelerate the adoption of thermoelectric technologies.  The first version of TEPSS is being developed within the MatLab environment with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).  Potential users of the TEPSS tool are thermoelectric manufacturers and developers, remote power application developers, auto industry, industrial or commercial waste heat generators, waste heat to power developers, power generation industry, micro cogeneration developers, and thermoelectric research community.

If you are interested in the project and potentially using TEPSS, please sign-up to the left and you will be notified when TEPSS is available for download and testing.