Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development of a Design & Screening Tool for the Next Gen of Thermoelectric Power Applications (TEPSS)(ST11135-1)

Rochester Institute of Technology


In 2007, the US consumed 102 quadrillion BTUs of energy, approximately 50% of which was dumped into the environment in the form of waste heat. This total annual amount of lost energy is equivalent to the net amount of energy that New York State’s industrial and commercial sectors consume over a 100-year period. Unfortunately, much of this waste heat is moderate- to low-grade heat that is, in many cases, dispersed -- making recovery challenging. Currently, there are few technically and economically viable options for tapping this tremendous energy resource. However, enhancements in thermoelectric materials may make this technology a viable option.

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Project Description

The objective was to develop a software screening and design tool, a Thermoelectric Power System Simulator (TEPPS), to assess when and where thermoelectric power generation is a viable option. This feasibility study developed a comprehensive and versatile software environment TEPSS for screening and design of a wide range of thermoelectric power generation systems. The tool is the first of its kind to incorporate system level modeling in parallel with the selection of TE materials and geometry at the module level. Economic and optimization analyses will be incorporated into the environment to guide future developments to TEG technologies.


TEPSS allows the efficient exploration of a range of potential power generation applications, including the utilization of waste heat from large turbines to micro-turbines, micro-cogeneration, industrial waste heat recovery, and vehicle exhaust power generation.

Project Results

To promote the development of waste heat recovery technologies, this NYSERDA-funded project developed a software screening and design tool, TEPSS (ThermoElectric Power System Simulator). TEPSS allows engineers to examine the feasibility of using thermoelectrics on the heat resources, and then optimize the design for specific applications based on both technical and economic models. TEPSS was designed to be highly flexible and expandable as well as freely available through the project’s Web site. TEPSS has been applied to some general thermoelectric power generation applications. Although TEPSS was primarily developed to optimize thermoelectric applications, because of its versatile architecture it has also been used to conduct a preliminary optimization of a New York State turbomachinery manufacturer’s waste heat-recovery application under development. Future use of TEPSS will hopefully lead to waste heat-recovery technologies that will have direct economic and environmental benefit to New York. The TEPSS work has been presented at national and international meetings, as well as marketed via the project Web site.


Rochester Institute of Technology
114 Lomb Memorial Dr Sponsored Research Offices
Rochester, NY 14623

Principle Investigator

Robert Stevens

Universities Involved

Rochester Institute of Technology


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply

NYSERDA Contact Information

Miriam Pye


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 3/9/2010 1
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST11135-1

Last Updated: 7/30/2014