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High-capacity thermoelectric heat exchanger

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7 Author(s)
Lu, K.S. ; Adv. Cooling Technol., Inc., Lancaster, PA, USA ; Pellicone, D. ; Bonner, R. ; Fleming, E.
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This study investigates the feasibility of integrating thermoelectric devices into a large-capacity heat exchanger (up to 100 kW). Typically, thermal-electrical conversion is inefficient and thermoelectrics are only used in low-power applications (<;1 kW). The incentive for using thermoelectrics, however, lies in their compact size, light-weight, high reliability, and sub-ambient cooling. In this study, a prototype thermoelectric heat exchanger is designed, fabricated and optimized for performance through testing and simulation. Specifically, direct fluid contact and jet-impingement were used to improve heat transfer at every thermoelectric hot/cold junction. This resulted in a five-fold increase in cooling capacity to pumping power. Experimentally validated predictions also demonstrated that the full-scale heat exchanger is lighter per unit-power than comparable vapor-compression systems. This feasibility study raises the outlook of reducing thermoelectric technology to practice in large heat load applications.

Published in:

Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems (ITherm), 2012 13th IEEE Intersociety Conference on

Date of Conference:

May 30 2012-June 1 2012