Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Discovery Creates a Better Chance for Clean Energy Research: UH Researchers Find First New High-Efficiency Thermoelectric Material in 60 Years

A transmission electron microscope image shows the newly discovered thermoelectric material. The small grains reduce heat conduction, making thermoelectric power generation more efficient.
A transmission electron microscope image shows the newly discovered thermoelectric material. The small grains reduce heat conduction, making thermoelectric power generation more efficient.

Abstract:
University of Houston physicists have discovered a new thermoelectric material offering high performance at temperatures ranging from room temperature up to 300 degrees Celsius, or about 573 degrees Fahrenheit.

Discovery Creates a Better Chance for Clean Energy Research: UH Researchers Find First New High-Efficiency Thermoelectric Material in 60 Years

Houston, TX | Posted on May 7th, 2014

"This new material is better than the traditional material, Bismuth telluride, and can be used for waste heat conversion into electricity much more efficiently," said Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson Chair professor of physics at UH and the lead author of a paper describing the discovery, published online by Nano Energy.

Ren, who is also principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, said the work could be important for clean energy research and commercialization at temperatures of about 300 degrees Celsius.

Bismuth telluride has been the standard thermoelectric material since the 1950s and is used primarily for cooling, although it can also be used at temperatures up to 250 C, or 482 F, for power generation, with limited efficiency.

For this discovery, Ren and other members of his lab used a combination of magnesium, silver and antimony to generate electricity from heat using the thermoelectric principle. They added a small amount of nickel, after which Ren said the compound worked even better.

The work was done in collaboration with researchers from the UH Department of Chemistry and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Huaizhou Zhao and Jiehe Sui, a member of Ren's lab whose home institute is the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, were primary contributors; Zhao is now a research scientist at the Institute of Physics with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The material works well up to 300 C, Ren said; work to improve its efficiency is ongoing.

The potential for capturing heat - from power plants, industrial smokestacks and even vehicle tailpipes - and converting it into electricity is huge, allowing heat that is currently wasted to be used to generate power. Ren said temperatures there can range from 200 C to 1,000 C, and until now, there hasn't been a thermoelectric material capable of working once conditions get beyond the lower levels of heat. Much of the demand ranges from 250 C to 300 C, he said.

Ren long has worked in thermoelectrics, among other scientific fields. His research group published an article in the journal Science in 2008 establishing that the efficiency - the technical term is the "figure of merit" - of Bismuth telluride could be increased as much as 20 percent by changing how it is processed. At the time, Ren was at Boston College.

And his lab last summer published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences establishing tin telluride with the addition of the chemical element indium as a material capable of converting waste heat to electricity. But tin telluride works best at temperatures higher than about 300 C, or about 573 F, making it important to continue looking for another material that works at lower temperatures.

Ren's group isn't the first to study the new material, which has not been named but is referred to in the Nano Energy paper as simply MgAgSb-based materials, using the chemical names for the elements used to create it. The paper cites work done in 2012 by M.J. Kirkham, et al; that work used magnesium, silver and antimony in equal parts, Ren said, but resulted in impurities and poor conducting properties.

He said his lab found that using slightly less silver and antimony, and mixing the elements separately - putting magnesium and silver first in the ball milling process, adding the antimony after several hours - eliminated the impurities and significantly improved the thermoelectric properties.

"We had much different qualities," he said. "Better, with no impurities, and smaller grain size, along with much better thermoelectric properties."

####

About University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jeannie Kever
713/743-0778

@JEKever

Copyright © University of Houston

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Harris & Harris Group to Host Conference Call on Second-Quarter 2014 Financial Results on August 15, 2014 July 23rd, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Discoveries

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

NUS scientists use low cost technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials: By 'drawing' micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applicat July 22nd, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Announcements

Harris & Harris Group to Host Conference Call on Second-Quarter 2014 Financial Results on August 15, 2014 July 23rd, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

Energy

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

3-D nanostructure could benefit nanoelectronics, gas storage: Rice U. researchers predict functional advantages of 3-D boron nitride July 15th, 2014

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2014 conference July 8th, 2014

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics

Compact Vibration Harvester Power Supply with Highest Efficiency Opens Door to “Fix-and-Forget” Sensor Nodes July 23rd, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

Labs characterize carbon for batteries: Rice, Lawrence Livermore scientists calculate materials’ potential for use as electrodes July 14th, 2014

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2014 conference July 8th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE