Journal of Undergraduate Research


thin air, compressed air power harvesting systems, energy


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering


Energy is an important resource within the world we live. The demand for power requires new energy resources. Much of the power that is generated is eventually wasted in the form of waste heat. As much as 435 GW of energy is transferred from virtually all energy conversion devices and processes to the atmosphere as wasted heat [1]. Converting as much as one percent of this waste heat into electrical power would eliminate the need for 18 average size (236 MW) [2] coal red power plants. A significant portion of this waste heat production is due to air compression systems – a process which converts 60-90% of input power to waste heat [3]. Thermoelectric generators (TEG) are solid state direct energy conversion devices that have the ability to reclaim this otherwise wasted heat by converting thermal energy into electrical energy. While current TEGs have low energy conversion efficiencies, a significant amount of power can be produced with proper optimization. For this project, a model was created and confirmed with experimental data. Creating an accurate model requires taking into account the many external variables which affect the system. With a proper model, professionals will be able to optimize and implement the TEG systems on a broader scale.