Numerical Investigation of Various Heat Transfer Performance Enhancement Configurations for Energy Harvesting Applications

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Conventional understanding of quality of energy suggests that heat is a low grade form of energy. Hence converting this energy into useful form of work was assumed difficult. However, this understanding was challenged by researchers over the last few decades. With advances in solar, thermal and geothermal energy harvesting, they believed that these sources of energy had great potential to operate as dependable avenues for electrical power. In recent times, waste heat from automobiles, oil and gas and manufacturing industries were employed to harness power. Statistics show that US alone has a potential of generating 120,000 GWh/year of electricity from oil , gas and manufacturing industries, while automobiles can contribute upto 15,900 GWh/year.

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can be employed to capture some of this otherwise wasted heat and to convert this heat into useful electrical energy. This field of research as compared to gas turbine industry has emerged recently over past 30 decades. Researchers have shown that efficiency of these TEGs modules can be improved by integrating heat transfer augmentation features on the hot side of these modules. Gas turbines employ advanced technologies for internal and external cooling. These technologies have applications over wide range of applications, one of which is thermoelectricity. Hence, making use of gas turbine technologies in thermoelectrics would surely improve the efficiency of existing TEGs.

This study makes an effort to develop innovative technologies for gas turbine as well as thermoelectric applications. The first part of the study analyzes heat transfer augmentation from four different configurations for low aspect ratio channels and the second part deal with characterizing improvement in efficiency of TEGs due to the heat transfer augmentation techniques.



Computational fluid dynamics, Heat--Transmission, Gas Turbines, Thermoelectric Generators