Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

Dear Colleagues,

In order to meet the ever-increasing energy demands of our societies in a climate-friendly fashion, we must continue to develop the present energy harvesting and recycling systems while looking for new sustainable solutions. In this regard, the thermoelectric phenomenon can be exploited to convert the large amounts of waste heat generated in our fossil-fuel-based economy (factories, houses, automobiles, etc.) into useful electric power. However, the low efficiency and high cost of conventional thermoelectric materials, together with the poor production scalability of thermoelectric devices, have impeded their mass deployment thus far.

Using novel inorganic materials, nanomaterials, and their hybrids with conductive organic molecules/polymers in thin films or bulk forms has proven to be a promising approach towards enhancing the thermoelectric properties of traditional materials and improving the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. However, the development of novel alloys and composites and the implementation of nanomaterials and organic semiconductors into large-sized real devices are major challenges. Crucial issues to be addressed include the materials’ chemical stability, toxicity, adaptability, scalability, flexibility, and mechanical robustness of the final devices. Toward this end, our Topic seeks to contribute to the thermoelectric energy-harvesting agenda through the most recent scientific and cross-disciplinary findings on thermoelectric materials and devices. We are inviting papers covering innovative scientific/technical developments, reviews, case studies, and analytical/assessment articles from all relevant disciplines.

Deadline for abstract submissions: 28 February 2022.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.

Topic Board

Prof. Dr. Amir Pakdel
E-Mail Website
Topic Editor-in-Chief
School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
Interests: nanomaterials; nanocomposites; energy and environment; thermoelectricity; surfaces and interfaces; materials characterization; electron microscopy; additive manufacturing
Dr. David Berthebaud
E-Mail Website
Topic Associate Editor-in-Chief
CNRS-Saint Gobain-NIMS, UMI 3629, Laboratory for Innovative Key Materials and Structures (LINK), National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba 305-0044, Japan
Interests: materials science; inorganic chemistry; energy; multidisciplinary

Keywords

  • Inorganic thermoelectric materials and composites
  • Organic/polymeric thermoelectric materials
  • Low-dimensional thermoelectric materials and nanostructured bulks
  • Thermoelectric thin films
  • Thermoelectric generators and coolers
  • Flexible thermoelectric devices
  • Simulation of novel thermoelectric systems

Relevant Journals List

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Energies
energies
3.004 4.7 2008 15.92 Days 2000 CHF Submit
Nanoenergy Advances
nanoenergyadv
- - 2021 0 Days 1000 CHF Submit
Materials
materials
3.623 4.2 2008 13.56 Days 2000 CHF Submit

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Review
Thermal Management Systems and Waste Heat Recycling by Thermoelectric Generators—An Overview
Energies 2021, 14(18), 5646; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/en14185646 - 08 Sep 2021
Abstract
With the fast evolution in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (e.g., CO2, N2O) caused by fossil fuel combustion and global warming, climate change has been identified as a critical threat to the sustainable development of human society, public [...] Read more.
With the fast evolution in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (e.g., CO2, N2O) caused by fossil fuel combustion and global warming, climate change has been identified as a critical threat to the sustainable development of human society, public health, and the environment. To reduce GHG emissions, besides minimizing waste heat production at the source, an integrated approach should be adopted for waste heat management, namely, waste heat collection and recycling. One solution to enable waste heat capture and conversion into useful energy forms (e.g., electricity) is employing solid-state energy converters, such as thermoelectric generators (TEGs). The simplicity of thermoelectric generators enables them to be applied in various industries, specifically those that generate heat as the primary waste product at a temperature of several hundred degrees. Nevertheless, thermoelectric generators can be used over a broad range of temperatures for various applications; for example, at low temperatures for human body heat harvesting, at mid-temperature for automobile exhaust recovery systems, and at high temperatures for cement industries, concentrated solar heat exchangers, or NASA exploration rovers. We present the trends in the development of thermoelectric devices used for thermal management and waste heat recovery. In addition, a brief account is presented on the scientific development of TE materials with the various approaches implemented to improve the conversion efficiency of thermoelectric compounds through manipulation of Figure of Merit, a unitless factor indicative of TE conversion efficiency. Finally, as a case study, work on waste heat recovery from rotary cement kiln reactors is evaluated and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting)
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Article
Structural Design Optimization of Micro-Thermoelectric Generator for Wearable Biomedical Devices
Energies 2021, 14(8), 2339; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14082339 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Wearable sensors to monitor vital health are becoming increasingly popular both in our daily lives and in medical diagnostics. The human body being a huge source of thermal energy makes it interesting to harvest this energy to power such wearables. Thermoelectric devices are [...] Read more.
Wearable sensors to monitor vital health are becoming increasingly popular both in our daily lives and in medical diagnostics. The human body being a huge source of thermal energy makes it interesting to harvest this energy to power such wearables. Thermoelectric devices are capable of converting the abundantly available body heat into useful electrical energy using the Seebeck effect. However, high thermal resistance between the skin and the device leads to low-temperature gradients (2–10 K), making it difficult to generate useful power by this device. This study focuses on the design optimization of the micro-thermoelectric generator for such low-temperature applications and investigates the role of structural geometries in enhancing the overall power output. Electroplated p-type bismuth antimony telluride (BiSbTe) and n-type copper telluride (CuTe) materials’ properties are used in this study. All the simulations and design optimizations were completed following microfabrication constraints along with realistic temperature gradient scenarios. A series of structural optimizations were performed including the thermoelectric pillar geometries, interconnect contact material layers and fill factor of the overall device. The optimized structural design of the micro-thermoelectric device footprint of 4.5 × 3.5 mm2, with 240 thermoelectric leg pairs, showcased a maximum power output of 0.796 mW and 3.18 mW when subjected to the low-temperature gradient of 5 K and 10 K, respectively. These output power values have high potential to pave the way of realizing future wearable devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting)
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