Energy Harvesting Using Thermocouple and Compressed Air
In this paper, we describe the possibility of using the energy of a compressed air flow, where cryogenic temperatures are achieved within the flow behind the nozzle, when reaching a critical flow in order to maximize the energy gained. Compared to the energy of compressed air, the energy obtained thermoelectrically is negligible, but not zero. We are therefore primarily aiming to maximize the use of available energy sources. Behind the aperture separating regions with a pressure difference of several atmospheres, a supersonic flow with a large temperature drop develops. Based on the Seebeck effect, a thermocouple is placed in these low temperatures to create a thermoelectric voltage. This paper contains a mathematical-physical analysis for proper nozzle design, controlled gas expansion and ideal placement of a thermocouple within the flow for best utilization of the low temperature before a shockwave formation. If the gas flow passes through a perpendicular shockwave, the velocity drops sharply and the gas pressure rises, thereby increasing the temperature. In contrast, with a conical shockwave, such dramatic changes do not occur and the cooling effect is not impaired. This article also contains analyses for proper forming of the head shape of the thermocouple to avoid the formation of a detached shockwave, which causes temperature stagnation resulting in lower thermocouple cooling efficiency.
KeywordsPeltier-Seebeck effect, Laval nozzle, harvester thermocouple, conical shockwave, perpendicular, detached shockwave, energy harvesting
Document typePeer reviewed
Document versionFinal PDF
SourceSENSORS. 2021, vol. 21, issue 18, p. 1-15.