Alfred Alfred
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Thermoelectric Module Optimization for Performance

Thermoelectric Module Optimization is Now Available: What is It and Why You Need It.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, why settle for a mediocre product when you can have the best product. Applied Thermoelectric Solutions designs solid-state thermoelectric systems and modules. We have taken optimization techniques developed from our latest research and development and made them available to add value to your product or application. These internally developed proprietary thermoelectric module optimization models have paved the way to an era of better performing thermoelectric modules and systems. This improves your customers experience and maximizes the profitability of your product.

 

What is Thermoelectric Module Optimization?

Thermoelectric module optimization is the process of engineering a thermoelectric device or system to produce the best possible performance at the lowest possible cost. We use in-house developed proprietary modeling techniques combined with engineering analysis, experience, and judgement to find the best possible design for your application.

 

What Thermoelectric Module Parameters can be Optimized?

Just to name a few, we can design for maximum performance (cooling power), maximum efficiency / COP or minimize the cost. Bring us the design parameters that are important to you and we will utilize it in our optimization model.

 

Why Thermoelectric Module Optimization is Important?

Every application of thermoelectrics is different and each has its own unique requirements. Furthermore, the performance of a thermoelectric module is extremely sensitive to the system in which it is used. Thermoelectric optimization provides not only a custom solution for the unique requirements of every system, it provides the best solution. Why would you want anything less?

 

Old and New Business Models for the Thermoelectric Module Industry

For a long time, and continuing today, thermoelectric module manufacturers have used a “one size fits all”, “off-the-shelf” product business model when selling their modules. In this business model, the standard set of modules is sold, no matter the application. This makes sense for the manufacturers since they are only interested in selling modules. If you sell a product that uses the module, this model leaves much to be desired. This old business model is analogous to selling the same engine for every vehicle. There are many different vehicles with many different uses. The engine will “work” for some vehicles and not for others. Some vehicles will not accelerate fast enough, others will have far more power than the customer wants and cost more than necessary. This leads to poor customer experience. What is needed is an ideal, optimized solution.  The optimized thermoelectric module leads to the best possible experience that your customers want while at the same time minimizing the cost and maximizing end product manufacture profitability. This is a win for everyone.

 

Limitations of Thermoelectric Module Optimization

Optimization is a great tool for maximizing performance and minimizing cost. At the same time, it cannot replace an experienced engineer or design a system at the push of a button. Combining engineering experience with a tool like optimization produces a result that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Visualize cooling performance of a thermoelectric module as a mountain. The one optimal solution for peak cooling performance is the peak of the mountain. We can design a thermoelectric module to be at the peak. But should we? On one side of the peak is a cliff. If we let the optimization model decide how to design the module by itself, the model will design at the peak. This is where sound engineering analysis, judgment and experience come in. Since there is manufacturing variability in the module, if we design right at the peak, we may end up off the cliff when parts are manufactured in their normal size tolerance range. We must design just far enough away from the peak that performance will not end up off the cliff for the real product. This is where optimization combined with experience and knowledge is important.

As another example, the optimization model may choose a design that is the highest performing but takes four times longer to manufacture than a design with a half percentage in performance reduction. Should we let the computer choose the design that increases manufacturing cost? It depends on your goal. We will work with you to understand your goals.

 

Is Thermoelectric Module Optimization for Every Thermal Product?

An optimized thermoelectric module design for a specific application is highly unlikely to be available as an “off the shelf” product. In this case, there are two different options depending on the situation. If the situation is production of a high-volume product, tooling will likely need to be purchased to manufacture the optimized thermoelectric module. If the situation is a low volume product, the optimized module can be manufactured by hand or with a more manual process that would not be cost effective for higher volumes. For mid volume products, the breakeven point between handmade / manually processes and high-volume manufacturing would need to be understood. Depending on if your goals are high performance, low cost, some combination of the two or if you have high or low production volume, we can help you pick the right solution.

 

Types of Thermoelectric Optimization

The cooling performance of a thermoelectric module is dependent on the semiconductor materials used, the design of the thermoelectric module, the electrical operating condition of the module and the external heat loading and temperatures of the system. At Applied Thermoelectric Solutions, we optimize the design of the module and system. We also optimize the electrical operating condition (see our recently published transient optimization work).

 

How Can We Help You with Thermoelectric Module Optimization?

Do you have an existing product and want to determine how much performance can be gained or cost saved by switching to an optimized design?

Are you interested in developing an all new optimized product?

Get Started

 

Thermoelectric Generator Module Optimization (TEG)

We are considering the introduction of thermoelectric generator module optimization. Please contact us if you are interested in this service.

 

Other Thermoelectric and Optimization Resources

Karri M. A. Thermoelectric Power Generation System Optimization Studies. 2011

Piggott, A. J. and J. Allen, S (2017). "Peltier Supercooling with Isosceles Current Pulses: A Response Surface Perspective." ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, 6(3): N3045-N3054.

What is optimization?

 

How We Differentiate

At Applied Thermoelectric Solutions LLC, we engage in R&D and develop solutions that enable your solid-state thermoelectric cooling and heating products, applications, and thermal management systems. We develop application specific solid-state thermal management solutions that are designed for the unique requirements of every application. Our in-house developed proprietary software allows us to design not only a customized solution but also an optimized one, putting your product ahead of the competition. We work with many different manufacturing partners. This allows us to use the top technology and get the best prices rather than be tied to one specific supplier. We will work with you to understand your requirements and if the requirements are unknown, we will help you develop them. All of this combined with our passion for solid-state thermal management leads to the best possible outcome for your project. Contact us for more information.

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Alfred has worked as a thermal systems engineer and innovator since 2000. Alfred's career started as an ASE certified automotive technician. After eight years as a technician, he earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan where he won the Mechanical Engineering department and overall School of Engineering Senior Design Competition with an innovative thermal energy conversion device. Alfred later obtained a master's degree from Michigan Technological University where he studied thermal sciences, did research on thermoelectrics and wrote a master's thesis on transient Peltier supercooling. Alfred has held positions in the advanced engineering organizations of Gentherm and Fiat Chrysler. He has also held engineering positions at General Motors and DENSO Corporation. Alfred is experienced with concept ideation, mechanical and thermal design, computer thermal modeling, prototyping, validation testing, thermal instrumentation, design development and mass production. He holds 5 patents and 6 patents pending and is currently publishing in scientific journals. The first-time Alfred worked with thermoelectrics, he was hooked. Alfred founded Applied Thermoelectric Solutions with the mission of having fun while advancing the state of the art of thermoelectrics design and applications.

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