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An Applied Comparison Study: Solar Energy vs. Thermoelectric Energy

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Electrical Energy Courses, Labs, and Projects I

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.150.1 - 23.150.13



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Paper Authors

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Faruk Yildiz Sam Houston State University

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Keith L. Coogler Sam Houston State University


Bill Crockford Sam Houston State University

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Dr. Crockford is an assistant professor and registered professional engineer in Texas.

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An Applied Comparison Study: Solar Energy vs. Thermoelectric EnergyThermoelectric generators (TEG) are the devices that convert heat into usable electricity. TEGsare made from thermoelectric modules which are solid-state integrated circuits that employ threeestablished thermoelectric effects known as the Peltier, Seebeck and Thomson effects. TEGsrequire heat as an energy source and TEGs can generate power as long as there is a heat sourcesuch as gas or oil flame, stove, camp fire, industrial machinery, and furnace. Solar modules,which convert light energy into usable electricity, need direct sun light to generate maximumrated power. Usually solar tracking systems are used to receive direct sun light to increase theefficiency of the modules. This type of setup increases the cost of the photovoltaic systems. Ateam of students with the renewable energy projects background compared solar panels withthermoelectric generators (TEG). The comparison study dealt with efficiency, power generationcapability/capacity, cost, size, potential consumer applications, and system installationcomplexity to generate power. The balance of the system included the number of the componentsthat go into the system. For the purpose of the project, a test bed (a laboratory environment) wascreated in order to compare both generating devices at the similar environment. Solar modulesand TEG with the power generating capacity of 5W to 175W were compared in differentenvironments, applications, and weather conditions. The test results of the potential applicationswith TEGs will be shared with academia.

Yildiz, F., & Coogler, K. L., & Crockford, B. (2013, June), An Applied Comparison Study: Solar Energy vs. Thermoelectric Energy Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19164

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