The paper analyzes the combined TEG-ORC (thermoelectric generator and organic rankine cycle) used in exhaust heat recovery of ICE (internal combustion engine) theoretically. A theoretical model is proposed to calculate the optimal parameters of the bottoming cycle based on thermodynamic theory when net output power and volumetric expansion ratio are selected as objective functions, which affect system performance and size. The effects of relative TEG flow direction, TEG scale, highest temperature, condensation temperature, evaporator pressure and efficiency of IHE (internal heat exchanger) on system performance are investigated. R123 is chosen among the fluids whose decomposition temperature exceeds 600 K to avoid fluid resolving and resulting in wet stroke when expansion process ends. The thermodynamic irreversibility that occurs in evaporator, turbine, IHE, condenser, pump and TEG is revealed at target working areas. The results indicate a significant increase of system performance when TEG and IHE are combined with ORC bottoming cycle. It is also suggested that TEG-ORC system is suitable to recovering waste heat from engines, because TEG can extend the temperature range of heat source and thereby improve the security and fuel economy of engines. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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