Achieving high efficiency thermoelectric heating and cooling with metal foam heat exchangers
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This thesis examines the development of a high efficiency heat pump system using thermoelectric (TE) and reticulated metal foam (RMF) technologies to power a vehicle`s battery thermal management system. The focus is split into two areas: first a review of TE’s sourcing or removing heat, second an examination of compact heat exchanger (HX) design. Five TE suppliers were investigated to understand the performance and limitations of their TE modules. Testing showed the Kyrotherm product to be superior so it was used as a design basis. RMF’s are known to be an effective means to improve the performance of compact heat exchangers, thus HX’s were evaluated with RMF foams compressed to varying densities in order to understand their potential in conjunction with thermoelectric devices. Experimental results showed performance was limited due to adequate bonding, yet still on par with the highest efficiency technologies currently on the market.