Woodstove thermoelectric power recovery

R.Y. Nuwayhid, A.M. Shihadeh

Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Riad El Solh, 1107-2020 Beirut, Lebanon

An ongoing effort to introduce thermoelectric energy recovery into a simple rural woodstove is presented. A bismuth telluride low-cost high-performance TE module was designed and manufactured, and incorporated into a wood-burning domestic stove using an air-convection heat sink to provide the required temperature difference. In addition to the base-case natural convection condition, the TEG unit was also tested using a novel "naturally-forced" convection mode which utilizes the chimney effect of the stove to drive a cooling air flow through the heat sink and thereby enhance the TEG performance. Finally, the use of a TEG-driven cooling fan was examined as a possibility for increasing the net output of the TEG unit. Theoretical calculations for the TE design as well as "naturally forced" and auxiliary fan driven convection cases are presented, as are experimental measurements for open-circuit voltages and stove surface temperatures for various wood firing rates.