Bulk thermoelectric (TE) materials have been striving for more than 40 years to overcome the figure-of-merit “ZT=1 barrier”, essentially without success. Overall, most progress in TE materials has been made in the past decade by the introduction of nanostructures into materials that, by themselves, are decent TE materials.
We propose fundamentally new approaches, combined with advanced and creative materials development, for scalable and solution-processable thermoelectric generators (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 oC) 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. The work carried out at Chalmers will focus on growth of Bi2Te3 thin films by molecular beam epitaxy aiming at achieving excellent transport and thermoelectric properties beyond the state-of-the-art.
KTH, Linköping University, Uppsala University, Lund University