Energy Harvesting from Asphalt Pavement Using Thermoelectric Technology

Date

2020

Authors

Tahami, Seyed Amid

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

The importance of green technologies for generating renewable energy and sustainable development is widely accepted. Road surfaces are exposed to solar radiation that generates thermal gradients and heat flow in the pavement layers. The heat stored can be harvested providing an untapped source of renewable energy. This paper presents the design, construction, and assessment of an improved thermoelectric energy system prototype for harvesting heat energy from roadway pavements. To accomplish this, various prototype designs were simulated using Finite Element (FE) analysis, followed by design construction and laboratory testing of the most promising prototypes to evaluate their power harvesting capabilities. The main design components of these prototypes are a heat collector/transfer plate, thermoelectric generators (TEG), and a cooling module consisting of a heat sink, phase change material, and an insulation box. The results suggest a direct relationship between thermal gradients and power generation and point out the importance of the cooling module in maintaining the efficiency of the harvester. An optimum harvester design can produce a maximum power output of 30.41 mW over a period of 7 hours of summer sunshine in South Texas. Extrapolating this output for an installation that covers a length of 1 kilometer of a roadway could produce an average of 5.4 kWh/day under the conditions described above, which appears to be a promising independent source of power for roadside signage and sensors.

Description

This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.

Keywords

Alternative energy, Electrical engineering, Energy harvesting, Asphalt pavement, Thermoelectric technology

Citation

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering