The researchers say that the conversion of waste heat into electrical energy will play a role in today's challenge to identify alternative energy technologies that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lessen greenhouse gas emissions.
"In the last decade, there have been continuous improvements in the science and production of thermoelectric materials," Poon said. "Thermoelectric materials can now be incorporated into power-generation devices that are designed to convert waste heat into useful electrical energy."
Thermoelectric materials and devices are already being used in automobiles, including the GM Suburban and the BMW X5. The installed devices convert heat from the exhaust system into high-quality electricity for the automobile, recovering part of more than 60 percent of waste heat that is lost relative to the input energy.
The university researchers have investigated several materials, including half Heusler alloys and silicon-germanium, or SiGe, to understand the effect of core shell thermoelectric materials, under a
"We are paying particular attention to SiGe, a robust thermoelectric material used in many high-temperature applications like
Moving forward, the team hopes to find new sources of waste heat and develop thermoelectric devices to capture the large amount of the waste heat that the world produces. They're also working on thermoelectric cooling materials that will provide zonal cooling for automobiles.
TNS 30TagarumaMar-131101-4535921 30TagarumaMar
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