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Thermoelectric Power Generator System Optimization and Cost Analysis

By Kaz Yazawa, Kevin Margatan1, Je-Hyeong Bahk1, Ali Shakouri1

1. Purdue University

Simulate cost and efficiency trade-off of a thermoelectric device as a function of material properties and heat transfer coefficients

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Version 1.0 - published on 24 Oct 2013

doi:10.4231/D3V97ZR7G cite this

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NEEDS: Nano-Engineered Electronic Device Simulation Node

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Introduction page Simulation condition input page Fixed parameters input page Output plot of power cost vs. efficiency



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In this simulation tool, a thermoelectric power generator is optimized together with the heat source and heat sinks for maximum power output and system cost. Full electrical and thermal co-optimization is performed with given material properties, and dimensions to find the optimal thickness of the thermoelectric elements.

One can choose a material property such as Seebeck coefficient and thermal conductivity as an independent variable to optimize the performance of the power generator as a function of the chosen material property. Heat transfer coefficients of the heat sinks at the hot and cold sides can also be varied as an independent variable. Fractional area coverage by thermoelectric elements called fill factor is another parameter that can be optimized for best performance and cost in this simulation tool.

A particular set of parameters is given as an example in this tool to simulate a thermoelectric topping combined steam turbine system for its performance and cost analysis.

For more information about the simulation, contact Prof. Kazuaki Yazawa (email:


1. K. Yazawa, A. Shakouri, "Cost-efficiency trade-off and the design of thermoelectric power generators", Environmental Science and Technology, Journal of American Chemical Society, Vol. 45, Issue 17, pp. 7548-7553, 2011. 2. K. Yazawa, Yee Rui Koh and A. Shakouri, "Optimization of TE Topping Rankine Cycles for Energy Economy", Applied Energy, vol. 109, pp. 1-9, 2013.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Kaz Yazawa; Kevin Margatan; Je-Hyeong Bahk; Ali Shakouri (2013), "Thermoelectric Power Generator System Optimization and Cost Analysis," (DOI: 10.4231/D3V97ZR7G).

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