Electrothermal Energy Harvesting - MPPT Capacitor Charging

This example is intended to show relevant modeling and simulation capabilities of SystemVision Cloud for Electrothermal Energy Harvesting (EH) systems. It is not necessarily a practical EH design itself, but rather demonstrates the tool's ability to support knowledgeable users who are creating practical designs. The example also illustrates using a sampled-data algorithm for maximum power point tracking (MPPT), to optimize the energy harvest for changing operating temperatures.

The design includes a thermoelectric generator (TEG) that is supplied on the "hot" side by a sinusoidally time varying temperature between 75 degC and 100 degC. The "cold" side is held at a fixed 25 degC. The thermal resistance and heat capacitance of the hot-side heat-sink are shown in the schematic. The electronics section includes a mix of analog circuit elements, including an inductor, 1.0 F super-capacitor, LDO regulator and a periodically switched load resistor. It also includes abstract or "math block" models to represent the state-average (non-switching) behavior of a buck-boost converter.

The goal of the design is to extract sufficient power from the TEG, to provide a 2.5-Watt/1-second duration power burst once every 10 seconds. This burst is presumably to supply power for a periodic data transmission. The simple MPPT algorithm that helps achieves this is visible in the open-source MPPT-TEG model shown. The MPPT algorithm dynamically adjusts the load current draw from the TEG, to keep it operating at its maximum power output capability. That capability varies with the differential operating temperature. That shift can more easily be seen in the followingTEC/TEG calibration test schematic:

Mike Donnelly's picture



Mike Donnelly

Joined November 8, 2013
Design added Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 2:50 pm PDT