Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New knowledge about thermoelectric materials could give better energy efficiency

07.10.2008
Thermoelectric materials can be assembled into units, which can transform the thermal difference to electrical energy or vice versa – electrical current to cooling. An effective utilization requires however that the material supplies a high voltage and has good electrical, but low thermal conductivity.

- The new knowledge explains exactly why some thermoelectric materials can have the desired low thermal conductivity without degrading the electrical properties. This can be crucial for the conversion of wasted heat, for example, from vehicle exhaust emissions.

Leading car manufacturers are now working to develop this possibility and the first models are close to production. The technology is expected to give the cars considerably improved fuel economy, explains Bo B. Iversen, Professor at iNANO at the University of Århus. The new knowledge can also contribute to the development of new cooling methods, so that one avoids the most common, but very environmentally damaging greenhouse gas (R-134a). All of which is a gain for the environment.

In the Nature Materials article the researchers have studied one of the most promising thermoelectric materials in the group of clathrates, which create crystals full of ‘nano-cages’.

- By placing a heavy atom in each nano-cage, we can reduce the crystals’ ability to conduct heat. Until now we thought that it was the heavy atoms random movements in the cages that were the cause of the poor thermal conductivity, but this has been shown to not be true, explains Asger B. Abrahamsen, senior scientist at Risø-DTU.

The researchers have used the technique of neutron scattering, which gives them opportunity to look into the material and see the atoms’ movements.

- Our data shows that, it is rather the atoms’ shared pattern of movement that determines the properties of these thermoelectric materials. A discovery that will be significant for the design of new materials that utilize energy even better, explains Kim Lefmann, associate professor at the Nano-Science Center, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Rikke Bøyesen | alfa
Further information:
http://nano.ku.dk/english/news/press_release_lefmann_nature/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE Supports Market Development of Solar Thermal Power Plants in the MENA Region
21.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast
20.02.2018 | University of Warwick

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>