Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

Waste Heat Harvesting Using Thermoelectrics

Presented by Dr. Sanjiv Sinha, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Science & Engineering, UIUC

Nov 10, 2011

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Extracting work from low quality heat (T<150-200 C) can positively impact energy efficiency in diverse settings but poses considerable technical challenges. Conventional fluid machines are inoperable at such temperatures and more exotic options turn out to be expensive. An alternative option is thermoelectric energy conversion that uses charge carriers in a solid as the working fluid. A team at Illinois is investigating nanostructured silicon as a thermoelectric material with the intent of reducing material costs and boosting efficiency through carefully engineered microscopic transport. I will describe progress with materials, device and systems engineering as the team aims to boost efficiency to compete with existing rare-earth materials.

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