A thermoelectric cooling module (TECM) is defined as a solid-state heat pump and present advantages (for example, no moving parts and no harmful gasses) over other refrigeration technologies. However, to optimally use TECMs as high efficient heat pumps it is crucial to understand the factors that influence the performance and efficiency of these modules during the installation design phase. This paper therefore provides a review on the installation design phase of TECMs together with the factors that influence the performance and efficiency during this phase. Information and a discussion on the hot and cold surface calculations, power supply calculations and heat sink calculations are provided in this work. The performance of the TECMs is influenced by the Joule heating effect, temperature difference over the TECMs and thermal conductance between the p-n junctions. The efficiency of the TECMs is influenced by the coefficient of performance (COP) and the method and type of control of the TECMs. These factors are discussed in detail. It is shown that the factors related to the performance and efficiency of the TECMs cannot be disregarded and must be taken into account during the installation design phase of the TECMs.
Key words: Thermoelectric cooling modules, installation design, performance, efficiency.
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