Oxide thermoelectric materials are promising candidates for energy harvesting from mid to high temperature heat sources. In this work, the oxide thermoelectric materials and the final design of the high temperature thermoelectric module were developed. Also, prototypes of oxide thermoelectric generator were built for high temperature applications. This paper specifically discusses the thermoelectric module design and the prototype validations of the design. Here p type calcium cobalt oxide and n type aluminum doped ZnO were developed as the oxide thermoelectric materials. Hot side and cold side temperatures were used as 1100 K and 400 K respectively. Using analytical methods, the optimum thermoelement length and the thermoelements area ratio were explored in order to provide the maximum power output by the uni-couple and it is compared to methods reported in literature. Based on operating conditions of real thermoelectric uni-couples, the three-dimensional governing equations for the coupled heat transfer and thermoelectric effects were developed. Finite element simulations of this system were done using the COMSOL Multiphysics solver. Prototypes of the models were developed and the analytical and simulation results were validated. In addition, the thermal stress and the thermal expansion of the thermoelectric uni-couple were studied in this work.
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32nd International Conference on Thermoelectrics, 2014