P09451: Thermo-Electric Module for Large Scale Systems


Table of Contents

Project Overview

Dresser-Rand Vectra Gas Turbine

Dresser-Rand Vectra Gas Turbine

Dresser-Rand is a manufacturer of large-scale turbo machinery used in remote oil, gas and chemical applications around the world. The current source of energy for these machines is usually fuel extracted on location; however, because of the remote location of operation, the need for immediately usable electricity exists. This project is aimed at using thermoelectrics (TE) to recover wasted energy exhaust from Dresser-Rand turbo machinery in the form of usable power. Thermoelectrics will be used to create a scaled prototype, proof-of-concept heat recovery unit to address Dresser-Rand's long term energy needs and help bring RIT to the forefront of this emerging technology.

This project seeds from RIT's desire to develop internal talent with regards to sustainable energy. As an emerging leader of technology, RIT hopes to become familiar with tomorrow's technology and ultimately develop next generation novel materials for use in this new realm of sustainable energy. P08451, Feasibility of Heat Recovery on Large Scale Systems, is the third project in the TE family of projects that began winter 2006 (2006-2). The first project, P07441 Thermo-Electric Module Test Stand, created a test stand and helped build an understanding of this technology through the characterization of commercially available TE modules. The second project, P07442 Thermo-Electric Demo Device, created a test bed to model automotive exhaust for future use in the exploration of TE heat exchangers used in waste heat recovery and power generation.



Introduction to ThermoElectrics

Typical Thermoelectric Module www.alibaba.com

Typical Thermoelectric Module www.alibaba.com

Thermoelectrics are very simple solid state devices with two basic modes of operation. The first mode, based on the Peltier Effect, involves of the application of current through the module, absorbing heat from one side of the device and emitting from the other side. The generation of cold and hot faces of the plate makes Peltier devices ideal for heating and cooling applications. Conversely, the Seebeck Effect and second mode of operation can be used for power generation purposes. When a temperature gradient is applied across a TE module and an electric current is produced.


TE modules have been available off the shelf since the 1960's but have not been developed much on the materials end because of low efficiencies (~5%). In the last five years, however, attention has been drawn to power generation applications due to advancement in nanostructures and semiconductor materials. These developments are expected to dramatically raise power generation efficiencies associated with the thermoelectric module. Improvements are still being engineered in-lab; however, industry anticipates these higher efficiency modules to become commercially available in the next five to ten years.

A more detailed overview of thermoelectric devices can be found at the following RIT resource: https://edge.rit.edu/content/P07440/public/Home


This project is a great opportunity for students interested in alternative energy and its applications. Students will gain experience with tomorrow's energy technology as well as perspective on planning for long term solutions in today's industry. Additionally, students will be exposed to Dresser-Rand Corporation, a global power technology company with prospective full-time recruitment opportunities.

Students in the following programs will likely be interested in this project:

Administrative Information

Project Name
Feasibility of Energy Recovery from Thermo-Electric Module for Large Scale Systems
Project Number
Project Family
Sustainable Technologies for the Global Marketplace
Energy & Environment
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Dr. Stevens (ME)
Faculty Consultant
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Kevin Smith
Primary Customer
Dresser Rand Corporation
Customer contact information
Dresser Rand Corporation
Paul Chilcott

Team Documents

Team Planning

Meeting Agendas

Meeting Minutes

Action Items

1 Page Summary

2 Quarter Milestones

Final Budget/BOM



Weekly Status Reports

Weekly Presentations


Mission Statement

Staffing Requirements

Intellectual Property Considerations

Preliminary Work Breakdown Structure

Values and Norms

Peer Assessment

Team Norms

Required Resources

Risks and Issues

Concept Development



Concept Generation Complete List

Mass Flow Calculation

Piping Schematic

Compressor Performance Curve

Preliminary Drawings

TE device data from suppliers

Select Product Concept(s)

Test Product Concept(s)

Set Final Specifications

System Level Design

Product Architecture

System Level Review Agenda

System Level Review Documents 1

System Level Review Documents 2

Notes from Review

Detail Design

Detail Design Review

Power Unit

Heat Sinks

Final Mass Flow Model

Electrical System Design


Testing and Refinement

Preliminary Test Plan


Published Documents

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Concept Design Review Documents (SD I) (1 of 2)

Concept Design Review Documents (SD I) (2 of 2)

Detailed Design Review Documents (SD I)

Managerial Design Review Presentation (SD I)

Technical Conference Publication (SD II)

Poster Publication (SD II)

Managerial Design Review Presentation (SD II)

Photo Gallery

Simply Adding Documents

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