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An approximate analysis of the operation of thermoelectric generators with temperature dependent parameters is presented. Expressions for the optimum current and optimum area to length ratio are obtained for the cases of maximum efficiency and of maximum power output per unit volume. The principal assumption made in the analysis is that the temperature distribution along the legs of the generator is determined, to the first order of approximation, by the thermal conductivity of the material. The equations derived in the analysis are applied to a particular solvable case, and the approximate results obtained from them are compared with the exact results.