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Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286

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Energy Conversion and Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enconman

Waste heat recovery of a diesel engine using a thermoelectric generator
equipped with customized thermoelectric modules
Tae Young Kim a,⇑, Assmelash A. Negash b, Gyubaek Cho a
a
Engine Research Laboratory, Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials, Daejeon 34103, Republic of Korea
b
Department of Environment and Energy, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon 34113, Republic of Korea

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The waste heat recovery performance of a thermoelectric generator (TEG) was experimentally investi-
Received 1 June 2016 gated. Forty customized thermoelectric modules (TEMs) were installed on the upper and lower sides
Received in revised form 2 July 2016 of a rectangular exhaust gas channel in a 4  5 arrangement. Water at an ambient temperature of
Accepted 5 July 2016
293 K was supplied from a cooling tower and was used to create a temperature difference across each
TEM. The water flow rate was fixed at 8 SLPM. A turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine was used as the
heat source; the engine was operated under various conditions. Three engine rotation speeds—1000,
Keywords:
1500, and 2000 rpm—were employed to determine the effect of the exhaust gas flow rate on the TEG
Thermoelectric generation
Waste heat recovery
power output. The temperature of the exhaust gas was varied by changing the engine load, i.e., the brake
Energy harvest mean effective pressure (BMEP), at an interval of 0.2 MPa. From the experimental results, a contour map
Energy conversion showing the power output of the TEG as a function of the engine load and speed was obtained. From the
Diesel engine contour map, we observed that the power output of the TEG increases with the engine load or speed.
The maximum power output was 119 W at 2000 rpm with a BMEP of 0.6 MPa; the maximum energy
conversion efficiency was 2.8%. The pressure drop across the TEG was experimentally found to be
0.45–1.46 kPa under all engine operation conditions.
Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction exhaust gas channel yields a lower surface temperature, which
helps meet the maximum temperature requirement (493 K) of
The use of petroleum-based fuels causes environmental prob- the TEM, while exhibiting a uniformly distributed exhaust gas flow
lems, such as air pollution and global warming, and raises the glo- inside. Ibrahim et al. [25] studied the automotive exhaust heat
bal concern about energy security [1–3]. Thermoelectric (TE) recovery characteristics of thermoelectric modules using a rectan-
energy conversion is considered as a possible approach to alleviate gular exhaust gas channel. They found that the packing of a porous
the abovementioned problems by converting waste thermal material inside the exhaust gas channel improves the thermoelec-
energy into valuable electrical energy. Thermoelectric generators tric energy conversion performance by boosting the heat transfer
(TEGs) are easy to implement because they have no moving parts, from the gas stream flowing in the hot-side duct to the surfaces
are compact, and have relatively low pressure drop [4–9]. Owing to of TEMs.
the efforts of a number of research groups worldwide, the energy Despite all these efforts, however, there is still a lack of informa-
conversion efficiency of thermoelectric materials and modules tion on the performance of TEGs and their power output character-
has been improving [10,11]. As a result, the applications of thermo- istics as functions of the variation in the temperature and flow rate
electricity have been expanded from medical, military, remote, and of the heat source. Therefore, in this study, a TEG was fabricated
space applications [12] to automotive [13–15], geothermal [16], according to the optimum internal fin design guidelines suggested
stove [17–19], power sensors and stations [20–23]. in a companion paper [26]. The middle of the TEG is a rectangular
Several efforts have been made to investigate the system-wise exhaust gas channel, the top and bottom surfaces of which are
performance of TEGs. Kumar et al. [24] numerically studied the used for the TEM attachment. Forty custom-fabricated TEMs [26]
effect of the shape of the exhaust gas channel where thermoelec- were used to recover the waste heat of exhaust gases emitted from
tric modules (TEMs) are attached. They reported that a rectangular an internal combustion engine. The test engine was an inline six-
cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. The waste heat recovery per-
⇑ Corresponding author. formance of the TEG was examined for three engine rotation
E-mail address: taeyoungkim@kimm.re.kr (T.Y. Kim). speeds—1000, 1500, and 2000 rpm—and for engine loads in the

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2016.07.013
0196-8904/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The exterior dimensions of the channel were Teflon washers were placed beneath the heads of the screws to 253. Kim et al. The diameter of the perforated holes was 2 kPa and 0. T. 1. Dow Corning Toray Co.0– the first row and the second column on the top surface of the 2. In order to connect the TEG thermocouples were inserted into the middle of the cones placed to a conventional exhaust gas pipe.6 MPa. The coolers also had finned structures 2. Fig.5% full-scale accuracy (DPLH02. A 0. In the gaps. Corp. measured with used to measure the surface temperature of the TEM located in an LCR meter (IM3533. Experimental setup and procedure inside to facilitate uniform distribution of coolant flow. from the side to where the center of the Fig.). TEMs. There were exhaust gas channel.) was applied between was 2. aligned with the nuts welded onto the exhaust gas channel.0 MPa.00R.E. (d) assembled TEG. An array of holes. A thermal (BMEP) of 0. / Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286 281 range of 0. t-Global Technology) with a thermal conductivity of 12 W/m K fer from the exhaust gas to the surface of the TEMs. which is relatively lower than that caused 372 mm. (c) TEM arrays attached to the surfaces of the coolers. respectively.8%. Ltd. obtained under all engine operation conditions. The side surfaces of the exhaust gas chan- and/or engine load. a 20-mm-thick coolant passage. The width and length of each cooler were 253. steel.46 kPa. the exhaust gas channel in a 4  5 arrangement with 13-mm gaps a straight groove 1 mm wide was made on the top surface of the between adjacent TEMs. The custom-fabricated TEMs [26] were used for waste technology Co.Y. Sensor system 5. . In addition.57 mm. The 2. The maximum power output of 119 W was nel were shrouded with an insulation material (InteramTM Mat measured at 2000 rpm and at a brake mean effective pressure 1500HT.15 X. Forty TEMs were installed on the top and bottom sides of TEG. The exhaust exhaust channel in the middle of the TEG was made of stainless gas channel and the coolers were connected tightly by screws. was in the range of 2. Photos of the fabricated TEG in the present study: (a) rectangular exhaust gas channel and cone structures. cal tolerance and the height difference between the TEMs. (b) perforated plate placed inside the rectangular exhaust gas channel. respectively. between the exhaust gas channel and two coolers. The thick- ness and height of the fins were 2 and 10 mm. Considering were placed between the TEMs and the cooler to reduce the con- the heat transfer rate as well as the operating range of the engine tact resistance and tighten the contact between the modules and and pressure characteristics. The surfaces of the TEMs were kept cool by on the exhaust channel for achieving mechanical clamping coolers in which water at 293 K flows at a flow rate of 8 SLPM.5 and range 0.8-mm-thick k-type thermocouple was heat recovery. to cover the entire surface of the attached by the installation of conventional after-treatment systems.1. sandwiching The power output of the TEG increases with engine rotation speed the TEMs between them. referred to the reference module hereinafter. respec. 50-mm-long diverging and upstream and downstream of the TEM array to measure the inlet converging cones were located at the front and rear ends of the and outlet exhaust gas temperatures of the system. including a 5-mm-thick bottom plate.5  372  60 mm. Finned structures were installed on the prevent leakage of water through the holes. and a 4-mm-thick top cover.). we set the fin thickness and channel the cooler/exhaust gas channel by compensating for the mechani- width formed between two adjacent fins to 2 and 4.1 mm. an array of nuts was welded exhaust gas channel. TEG preparation channel width between adjacent fins was 4. and (e) TEG installed in the middle of the tail pipe of the diesel engine. Thermal pads (TGX. 3MTM) to reduce heat loss to the environment.2–1. A 2-mm-thick perforated stainless steel plate also pressure taps in the cones to measure the pressure drop across was placed in the upstream extension channel to straighten the the TEG using a pressure transducer with a measurement range 0– exhaust gas flow.. inner surface of the exhaust gas channel to augment the heat trans. as suggested by Kim et al. the pressure drop across the TEG was also the TEMs and the exhaust gas channel.. Ltd. HIOKI E. The rectangular was drilled through the bottom plate of each cooler. The electrical resistance of the TEMs. the maximum energy conversion efficiency grease (SC102.45–1. For this purpose. The pressure drop The cold surfaces of the TEMs were cooled by coolers in which measurement results show that the rise in the back pressure in the water at an ambient temperature of 293 K flowed at a rate of 8 exhaust gas channel owing to the installation of the TEG is in the LPM.57 mm. [26]. The total height of each cooler was 29 mm. 1 shows photos of the fabricated TEG. K-type tively.

) to sured to be 2.2. The power generation peaks shown were measured when the engine oil temperature.1 to 86. the peak power output increased from 44. and 0. The temperature difference mum engine load at each engine rotation speed was determined tends to increase with the engine load.282 T. The exhaust gas temperature rotation speeds were selected: 1000. and amount of fuel injected were measured using the engine external resistance was set to 2 X for every engine load condi- tion. The power generated is proportional to the rotation speed of the engine. Dasan RND). 3933 cm3 displacement. exhaust gas mass flow rate was calculated from the summation The more the external resistance of the load deviated from the of the mass flow rate of the intake air. The electrical resistance as a single module with a resistance of 2 X. 8. In addition to the engine rotation speed and load control. 6. 4 shows variation in exhaust gas mass flow rates with fabricated TEG was connected to the exhaust gas channel of the die. 7. 0. power output and conversion efficiency owing to a larger amount The surface temperature of the reference module exceeded the of thermal energy being extracted in the TEG region. 2.9. 2. the (Voc) and the short-circuit current (Isc) were calculated from the linear regressions shown as dashed lines in Fig. s s Fig. 5. Kim et al. the Voc and Isc values increase with the engine load. The figure shows an almost linear relationship on the reference module surface temperatures. the pres- The TEMs were connected to each other such that the overall elec. respectively. 55. and output. The maximum power generation of 119 W was denote parallel and series connections. and 2000 rpm. sure and temperature data were measured. measured at 2000 rpm and at a BMEP of 0. dition.3–132. measured with the laminar electrical resistance of the system.0 MPa at intervals of 0. and its value was in the range of 66 to 178 kg/h.4 and 0. 44. the surface temperature of the reference 3. Graphtec Corp. The open-circuit voltage readings varied by less than 0.8 and 0.).2 to 43. the fuel mass flow rate. nal electric load resistance (PLZ334W. If the temperature between the voltage and the current. 3 shows a schematic diagram of the experimental setup. maximum allowable temperature of 473 K when the engine load became higher than 1. and 91. The slopes of the V–I curves increase slightly with p p the engine load. An increase in the engine load also improves the waste side of the exhaust gas channel are electrically connected to each other.6 MPa for engine rotation speeds of 1000. 8 shows the power generation contour map developed as a p p p p function of the engine rotation speed and the engine load by iden- s s s tifying the maximum power output for the experimental cases in Fig.6 MPa. / Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286 reference TEM was positioned. and 2000 rpm. 1. which both ends of the TEM array were electrically connected. respect to the engine rotation speed and engine load. The Fig. which were not used for the experiments.5 W at 1000 rpm and from peratures were also used to limit the engine operation conditions. as shown in Fig.2 to 0. The specifications of the test engine are listed in Table 1.0. The exhaust sel engine.2 K for five consecutive minutes. 71.6 W at 1500 rpm.2 K and increased with load.9. The power generation trical resistance of the TEM array was the same as that of a single characteristics of the TEG were also obtained by varying the exter- TEM. which can lead to higher based on the maximum surface temperature of the TEM.1 and 119. were p p p p obtained via interpolation. and 99. The TEG electrical resistance was mea.2.2 to up to 1.8.6 MPa. Once the engine operation reached a steady state. respectively. intake air flow rate. Engine operation points and experimental procedure 3. which is related to the mass flow rate of the exhaust gas.0. The engine oil and engine coolant tem. This is also caused by an increase in the temperature of the Outlines of the exhaust gas entering the TEG and increasing module surface tem- exhaust gas channel peratures for higher engine speed conditions at a given engine load Fig. engine operation was regarded to have reach the steady-state con- ings were collected using a data logger (GL 820. For safe engine operation. the peak power output increased from 9. At engine rotation speeds of 1500 and 2000 rpm. The power outputs under intermediate engine operation s s conditions. Kikusui Electronics Corp. 373 K was set as the maximum allowable 19. gas mass flow rate increased with engine rotation speed and The engine was a turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine with a engine load. As the engine load increased from 0. The difference between the TEG inlet and outlet was in the range engine loads were varied at BMEP intervals of 0.07 X.Y. Results and discussion 2. as shown in Fig.0. the lower was the power flow element (Z50 MH10-4F.2 MPa. Flow rates and temperatures of the heat source Fig.1. For a given Parallel connection to the TEM array on the bottom side engine speed condition. Energy recovery characteristics module remained lower than 473 K up to engine loads of 0. At 2000 rpm. the engine load increased from 0. Schematic diagram showing the manner in which the TEMs on the upper condition. which implies that the system impedance s p p s increases with the temperature of the heat source. In order to determine the TEG also increased with increasing engine rotation speed and energy harvesting characteristics of the current TEG. respectively. The TEG power generation characteristics including Voc and Isc are listed in Table 2. The voltage–current curves for the experimental cases are The steady state of the engine operation was determined based shown in Fig. . It is clear from the contour map. modules with similar surface temperature conditions were preferentially connected. 67.6 MPa. The maxi. that s s the power output increases with engine rotation speed and engine p p p p load. results were obtained for engine loads Fig.1 W as the temperature limit for the engine oil and coolant.3. Thus. engine coolant temperature.2 MPa.0 MPa at 1000 rpm. 1500. cal resistance between TEMs. In order to reduce the mismatch in the electri. p and s heat recovery. three engine engine load. This is because the TEMs were arranged to have the same controller and data acquisition system (Dacos. The pressure and temperature read. Meriam Process Technologies). 1500. 3. 6 shows the power output range obtained by varying the external load resistance.5 to 24. The maximum power was 110 kW at an The temperatures of the exhaust gas entering and exiting the engine rotation speed of 2500 rpm.

Y. Poutput. T. respectively. exhaust gas system inlet. TEG Fig. the enthalpy change of the 80 exhaust gas across the TEG is used as the heat input. BMEP) where g. mass flow rate of the exhaust gas. As it is impossible to account for the actual heat input to the TEG. 625 600 Cycle 4S Exhaust gas temperature (K) Cylinders 6 575 Bore  stroke 103  118 mm 550 Displaced volume 3933 cm3 Compression ratio 17 525 Maximum power 110 kW/2500 rpm 500 Intake system Waste gate turbocharger Injection system Common rail injector.8%. direct injection 475 Engine load tested 0.0 g¼ _ output ð1Þ mcp ðT in  T out Þ Engine load (MPa.6 0. 1500. 9.4 0. 4.0 160 Engine load (MPa) 140 Fig. with the maximum conversion efficiency of . Kim et al. we assumed a fixed specific Even though waste heat is regarded as a free energy source. Table 1 Specifications of the test engine. / Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286 283 Fig. power output. Conversion efficiency not significant as the exhaust gas temperature change is in the range 60 to 135 K.8 1. for simplicity.6 0.0 MPa 450 Engine speeds tested 1000. Exhaust gas temperatures at the TEG inlet and outlet for the experimental cases. The conversion efficiency of calculating the conversion efficiency is necessary for evaluating the current TEG is shown in Fig. which is given as follows: 60 P 0. and outlet temperature.8 1.2 0.2 0. The conversion efficiency is in the performance of the TEGs. Exhaust gas mass flow rate according to the engine load and speed. specific heat of the exhaust gas. 3. 5. _ cp. Tin. and 2000 rpm 425 Inlet Inlet Outlet Outlet 400 1000 rpm 1000 RPM 375 1500RPM 1500 rpm 180 1000 rpm 2000RPM 2000 rpm 350 Exhaust gas mass flow rate (kg/h) 1500 rpm 2000 rpm 0. and Tout are the conversion efficiency. 120 efficiency can be calculated by dividing the TEG power output by 100 the total heat input to the TEG. The change in the specific heat of the exhaust gas is 3.2–1. Schematic diagram of the experimental setup.4 0. heat of 1030 J/kg K for the exhaust gas. Thus.3. m. The waste heat recovery conversion the range 0.9–2.

2 MPa 0.6 MPa 0.6 MPa 1. so the pressure drop of the exhaust gas across the TEG was faces on the exhaust gas channel and the contact resistance maintained below the level of several kilopascals.4.2 MPa 0. (b) 1500. Power output of the TEG as a function of the external load resistance at the Fig. 6.6 MPa.6 MPa 25 0. The conversion efficiency could be improved by reducing the The TEG was designed for an internal combustion engine appli- heat loss from the heat source to the surrounding through bare sur. owing to the installation of the TEG would increase the fuel . 2.284 T.4 MPa 100 0. and (c) 2000 rpm.4 MPa 0. (b) 1500.4 MPa 80 0.8 MPa Voltage output (V) 0. The dashed lines are the linear fits for each curve. engine rotation speed of (a) 1000.8 MPa 25 0. The conver.4 MPa 0. Pressure drop characteristics sion efficiency increases with the engine rotation speed and engine load.6 MPa 80 0. This is because a between the TEMs and the cooler.8 MPa Voltage output (V) Power output (W) 60 1. 7.2 MPa 0. Voltage–current curves obtained at the engine rotation speeds of (a) 1000.Y. and (c) 2000 rpm. / Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286 (a) 1000 rpm (a) 1000 rpm 35 100 Engine load (BMEP) Engine load (BMEP) 0. cation.8 MPa Power output (W) 20 60 15 40 10 20 5 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Load resistance (Ω) Current (A) (c) 2000 rpm (c) 2000 rpm Engine load (BMEP) 35 Engine load (BMEP) 120 0.2 MPa 30 0.0 MPa 20 40 15 10 20 5 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Load resistance (Ω) Current (A) (b) 1500 rpm (b) 1500 rpm 35 Engine load (BMEP) Engine load (BMEP) 100 30 0.8% occurring at 2000 rpm and at a BMEP of 0.2 MPa 0.6 MPa 0.6 MPa 25 Voltage output (V) Power output (W) 80 20 60 15 40 10 20 5 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Load resistance (Ω) Current (A) Fig.4 MPa 0.2 MPa 0. 3. as relatively thick thermal pads large increase in the back pressure in the exhaust gas channel with a thermal conductivity of 12 W/m K were used for the TEG.4 MPa 30 0. Kim et al.0 MPa 0.

4 94.1 2.0 0.1 1.8 26.25 1000 rpm 1000 RPM RPM The main objective of this study was to experimentally investi- 1.8 a Load in brake mean effective pressure (BMEP).0 top and bottom sides of the rectangular exhaust gas channel.3 2. Power output contour map for the current TEG.9 473. b Absolute value.0 32.2 1.2 119. 10. / Energy Conversion and Management 124 (2016) 280–286 285 Table 2 Power generation characteristics of the TEG.8 20.2 533.79 20.2 Pressrue drop (kPa) 1.4 0.6 10.6 174.6 100. consumption of the engine.9 9.2 24.0 19.6 91.2 597.5 0.00 As presented in the companion paper [26].9 44.8 2. 1.6 31.5 2.5 2.6 2.6 P max =119 W 1.9 2.6 0.6 0.8 MPa.2 80.5 0.4 44.1 32. BMEP) Numerically optimized plate-fin structures [26] were employed for the internal design of the exhaust gas channel for maximizing Fig.8 489.3 0.5 14.4 632.4 2.2 0. Isc (A) curvesb outputc (W) efficiency (%) Speed Load (rpm) (MPa) 1000 0.7 2.9 12. Kim et al. it is understood that most of the pressure drop is caused by the perforated plate in the 2.2 64.5 26. c Maximum value.8 1.0 14.0 2.0 4. Fig.4 12.6 509.75 1. Voc (V) current. 9.6 1000 rpm RPM 1000 RPM rpm 1500 RPM RPM 0.0 Engine load (MPa.6 2. 3. which is similar to that for 2000 rpm and 0. Operating point Mass flow rate Exhaust gas inlet Open circuit Short circuit Slope of Voc-Isc Power Conversion a (kg/h) temperature (K) voltage.1 86.0 88. The TEG was designed to have 40 TEMs on the 0.2 9.6 1.75 0.3 43. the maximum back pressure rise for all experimental cases was only 1.6 74.6 6.Y.4 0. 8.8 124.1 2. the TEG power output.6 6.4 26. The exhaust gas pressure drop across the system increases with engine rotation speed and load.3 2.6 18.5 71.6 414.4 447.3 562.9 0. 1.0 608. Therefore. 10.1 10.4 rpm 2000 RPM RPM 0. Pressure drop across the TEG as a function of the engine load and the Engine load (MPa. the pressure drop 2. which would partially negate the ben- efit of TE waste heat recovery.2 121. BMEP) engine rotation speed.7 1500 0.5 585.50 140 kg/h.9 1. The power generation performance of the . T.00 1500 rpm 1500 RPM RPM gate the waste heat recovery performance of a TEG with cus- 2000 RPM 2000 RPM rpm tomized TEMs.5 67.9 0.7 2000 0.0 1.1 9. BMEP) Fig.1 0.3 2.7 8.6 2.4 Unit: W Engine rotating speed (rpm) 1.8 550.0 2. as shown in Fig.46 kPa.2 0. Conclusions Engine Enginespeed speed 1.00 exhaust gas channel and the contraction and expansion losses in the cone structures.8 2. However.7 12. Engine load (MPa.3 12.9 0.3 0.25 for 1500 rpm and 0.4 MPa and Conversion efficiency (%) 2.4 1.6 0.8 0.2 8.4 68.6 108.4 147.75 across the internal fin structure made for a single TEM inside the exhaust gas channel was below 11 Pa for a mass flow rate of 2.0 2.8 1.50 4. Conversion efficiency for all experimental cases.8 81.

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