P14254: Underwater Thermoelectric Power Generation

Systems Design

Table of Contents



Main article: Benchmarking & Research

Concept Development (generation, improvement, selection)

Main article: ConceptGeneration

Functional Decomposition

Link to PDF: Functional Decomposition

Systems Architecture

In addition to the physical configuration of the system, this project can considered to be a thermal system or an electrical system. There is also an instrumentation system to facilitate testing and validation.


A thermal circuits analysis shows that in order to achieve a large temperature drop across the thermoelectrics, which is important for high efficiency, the heat sink must have a much lower resistance than the thermoelectric. This can be mitigated by stacking the themoelectrics.

The Thermoelectric Worksheet is an interactive spreadsheet which can analyze the performance of thermoelectrics in different arrangements and with different heat sink properties. The analysis showed that generating 20W is feasible with only a few thermoelectric modules if the heat sink resistance is kept low. Additionally, this analysis showed that stacking the thermoelectrics was far more costly than single thermoelectrics with little gain in power.

Risk Assessment

Our risk assessment focuses on thermal overload, electric failure, and project management risks. Each of these areas has many paths that would lead to those failures.

Systems Design Review

Main article: Systems Design Review