Journal of Materials Research

Articles

Thermoelectric oxide modules tested in a solar cavity-receiver

Petr Tomeša1, Clemens Sutera2, Matthias Trottmanna3, Aldo Steinfelda4 and Anke Weidenkaffa5 c1

a1 Solid State Chemistry and Catalysis, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Research, CH-8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

a2 Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

a3 Solid State Chemistry and Catalysis, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Research, CH-8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

a4 Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland; and Solar Technology Laboratory, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland

a5 Solid State Chemistry and Catalysis, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Research, CH-8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

Abstract

Four-leg thermoelectric oxide modules (TOMs) consisting of two p-type (La1.98Sr0.02CuO4) and two n-type (CaMn0.98Nb0.02O3) thermoelectric (TE) legs were produced with a manufacturing quality factor between 30 and 60%. The pressed sintered TE legs revealed 90% of the theoretical density to ensure a sufficient mechanical stability of the TE modules. The legs were connected electrically in series and sandwiched thermally in parallel between two Al2O3 plates serving as absorber and cooler, respectively. A solar cavity-receiver packed with an array of TOMs was subjected to concentrated thermal radiation with peak solar radiative flux intensities exceeding 600 kW/m2. Temperature distributions in the cavity, open-circuit voltage (VOC), and maximum output power (Pmax) were measured for different external loads and solar radiative fluxes (qin). Finally, the solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency (η) was calculated.

(Received December 08 2010)

(Accepted April 15 2011)

Key Words:

  • Energy generation;
  • Oxide;
  • Thermoelectric

Correspondence:

c1 Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: anke.weidenkaff@empa.ch

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