Graded and segmented thermoelectric elements are studied in order to improve the performance of thermogenerators that are exposed to a large temperature difference. The linear thermodynamics of irreversible processes is extended by assuming spatially dependent material parameters like the Seebeck coefficient, the electrical and thermal conductivities. For the particular case in which these transport coefficients exhibit a constant gradient, we present an analytical solution of the one-dimensional thermal energy balance in terms of Bessel functions. Given linear spatial material profiles, we discuss the optimization of performance parameters like the electrical power Pel and the efficiency η of a graded thermogenerator element of fixed length and fixed boundary temperatures. The results are compared with the constant properties model, i.e., physically and chemically homogeneous material, as a suitable reference for performance evaluation.