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Anodized aluminum as effective and cheap alternative substrate for thermoelectric generators

: Assion, F.; Geneiß, V.; Schönhoff, M.; Hedayat, C.; Hilleringmann, U.


Amaldi, A. ; European Thermoelectric Society -ETS-:
11th European Conference on Thermoelectrics, ECT 2013. Proceedings : Noordwijk, The Netherlands, November 18–20th, 2013
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014
ISBN: 978-3-319-07331-6 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-07332-3 (Online)
ISBN: 3-319-07332-X
European Conference on Thermoelectrics (ECT) <11, 2013, Noordwijk>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

The wide usage of thermoelectric generators (TEG) is still blocked by very high product costs. This paper presents anodized aluminum (Al) as an effective and cheap alternative for ceramics like alumina (Al2O3) or aluminum nitride (AlN). Al has a significantly higher thermal conductivity as both named ceramics. In addition, the lower thermal stability of Al is still high enough to work with bismuth telluride based modules, which are most common. To show the advantages of the changed substrate, finite element method (FEM) simulations were performed. These simulations show that by changing the cold side substrate material the temperature drop across the substrate is reduced by 60 K. This correlates to a theoretical power gain of more than 20 %. Furthermore, Al can be shaped much easier than a ceramic material. The biggest advantage is obviously the price. Anodized Al is around twenty times cheaper than Al2O3. To demonstrate the easy fabrication of the proposed substrate, samples were prepared only with widely used processes like those used for conventional printed circuit boards.