Thermoelectric materials are solid state materials that can perform direct interconversion between heat and electricity. When there is a temperature gradient they can generate electrical energy, while when a potential is applied across the material local cooling or heating can be attained. Bulk thermoelectric (TE) materials have been striving for more than 40 years to overcome the limited efficiency figure of merit around 1, essentially without success. The novelty in this proposal is the focus on scalable TE nanomaterials that can be solution-processed into TE devices. We propose fundamentally new approaches, combined with advanced and creative materials development, for scalable and solution-processable TEGs. Their great advantage will be scalability and low cost – two critical parameters for immediate applications. Our vision is to functionalize the large area of heat exchangers using TEGs to convert waste heat (50-500 C) into electricity. Our efforts are centered on thrust areas that have been selected because of their potential (solution processability), and because each offers an opportunity to leverage unique, state-of-the art, Swedish competence. Specifically, this project will focus on i) Inorganic nanostructured TE materials processed from solution or from the aerosol phase for intermediate temperature applications (200-500 C) with ZT > 1.5. ii) Organic and organic-inorganic hybrid TE materials for low temperature waste heat recovery T (< 200C) with ZT > 0.7. iii) Standardized toolbox for TE properties validation. iv) TEG simulation and testing as a benchmark to evaluate materials. The project is divided into three main workpackages that include all aspects of this main strategy, from the synthesis of TE nanomaterials to their characterization, and device fabrication.
Professor vid Chalmers, Mikroteknologi och nanovetenskap (MC2), Elektronikmaterial och system
Finansierar Chalmers deltagande under 2012–2015