Nesarajah, M.; Frey, G.: Thermoelectric Power Generation: Peltier Element versus Thermoelectric Generator (TEC vs. TEG). Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference of IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, Florence, Italy, pp. 4252 - 4257, Oct. 2016.


This paper presents a detailed comparison between Peltier elements (also called thermoelectric coolers (TEC)) and thermoelectric generators (TEG) for the usage as thermoelectric power generators. Whereas the former is normally known for cooling applications or heat pump uses, it can also be used as generator. Today, thermoelectric energy harvesting systems find more and more utilization, e.g. in wireless sensors or exhaust pipes. The efficiency of thermoelectric materials for the low temperature sector (between 0 °C and 200 °C) is actually not very high, but the costs for TEGs are. As TECs and TEGs consist of the same thermoelectric material for this temperature sector (Bi2Te3), the upcoming question is in which temperature range and under which conditions expensive TEGs can be replaced by cheap TECs. Therefore, in this contribution, TECs and TEGs are tested and compared under the same conditions.


Thermoelectricity, Energy conversion, Energy harvesting, Power generation, Thermoelectric devices