Comment on “$ per W metrics for thermoelectric power generation: beyond ZT ” by S. K. Yee, S. LeBlanc, K. E. Goodson and C. Dames, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 2561
A recent paper by Yee, LeBlanc, Goodson, and Dames provides a powerful approach to the design of a low cost thermoelectric generation system, but makes an unjustified approximation. Avoiding that approximation is straightforward, and in no way undermines the validity of the original approach. It does, however, shift the optimal design of a thermoelectric generator and makes that design material dependent. The difference in cost between a generator designed using the results of the original paper, and one that uses the modification given here, could be as much as a factor of two.