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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 a Quote

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?

 

About Applied Thermoelectric Solutions

At Applied Thermoelectric Solutions LLC, we are passionate about solid-state thermoelectric thermal management, thermal energy harvesting, and the limitless opportunities to apply the technology to the world around us. We design, engineer, build and test thermoelectric systems for your product or application. We are a Michigan based engineering and R&D company. While other companies focus on manufacturing thermoelectric modules, our focus is on the full system. We specialize in custom and optimized thermoelectric modules and systems. We apply thermoelectric technology to your product or application with unconventional thinking, a high level of multidisciplinary engineering expertise, innovation, and design. We strive to make the whole process of obtaining a prototype as simple and straightforward as possible. Whether your product or application is one of a kind or will be high-volume mass produced, we can help. We will design any system no matter the complexity. We care about quality, performance, and cost-effective design. We believe that balance between the theoretical and the practical is important when designing a system. We continuously question the status quo and push the boundaries of conventional thinking to provide you with the best solution.

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Do you need help designing a thermal management or energy harvesting system? Questions about solid-state cooling or energy harvesting? Contact for a free no obligation consultation.

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Alfred Piggott is founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Applied Thermoelectric Solutions LLC.  In this role, Alfred works with clients to design, build and test custom and optimized solid-state thermal management and thermal energy harvesting systems and solutions. Alfred is a qualified mechanical / thermal engineer. He holds a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.  The subject of his research was in regard to using electrical current pulses to improve thermoelectric cooling performance. He currently holds 7 patents and has 4 patents pending regarding advanced thermoelectric and thermal management devices. Alfred earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. There he won the Mechanical Engineering department and overall School of Engineering Senior Design Competition with an innovative thermal energy conversion device. Alfred is no stranger to thermoelectrics and thermal management, having spent 18 years as an engineer where he focused on mechanical and thermal design, product development, systems engineering, thermal modeling, advanced engineering and research and development. Most recently Alfred led thermoelectric design and development in the advanced engineering group of Gentherm and advanced thermal systems engineering at FCA US LLC. Prior to his engineering career, Alfred spent 8 years as an ASE certified automotive technician.  Passionate about thermoelectrics, Alfred has helped a wide range of clients to find quality and cost-effective solutions to their thermal management and thermal energy harvesting needs. Drawing on 26+ years of diverse experience, he also now gives talks about thermoelectrics to the top thermoelectrics societies about his research in the field, for example, Peltier Supercooling with Isosceles Current Pulses: A Response Surface Perspective. ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, JSS Focus Issue on Thermoelectric Materials & Devices. 2017; 6(3): N3045-N54  Alfred’s varied background as a technician, in Industry, advanced engineering and R&D provides the perfect foundation for his current role at Applied Thermoelctric Solutions LLC.

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