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Solid-liquid thermoelectric systems with uncorrelated properties

Project description

A powerful factor for enhanced thermoelectric power generation

Thermoelectrics, which can be used to recover energy from waste heat, is a niche technology with considerable growth potential that is limited by low efficiency. To improve the efficiency of thermal to electrical energy conversion, the EU-funded UncorrelaTEd project will develop a new paradigm involving a properly designed hybrid system. This system is formed by a porous thermoelectric solid permeated by a liquid electrolyte that is already showing great promise with unprecedented improvements in power factor. Project outcomes will enable thermoelectric technology to be implemented in numerous areas, such as the realm of self-powered sensors. Realisation will reduce the demand for batteries, textiles, factories, power plants and combustion engines that have a high carbon footprint.


More than 60% of the global power is lost as waste heat. Thermoelectric (TE) materials can convert vast amounts of this waste heat into electricity and significantly contribute to the current energy challenge. Despite large efforts to identify better TE materials, still, the TE technology is limited by low efficiency. One of the two performance improvement routes, thermal conductivity reduction, has already reached its limit, which makes the other route, power factor (PF) improvements, crucial. Current strategies targeting PF enhancement have only reached modest improvements, mainly due to the adverse interdependence of the Seebeck coefficient (S) and the electrical conductivity (σ), which produces a decrease in one of these properties if the other is increased. This is a serious obstacle to achieve the widespread application of the TE technology, since PF=σS^2. UncorrelaTEd will come true the dream of breaking the S-σ correlation by introducing a new paradigm in thermoelectricity that comes from the connection of TEs and electrochemistry, using a properly designed hybrid system, formed by a porous TE solid permeated by a liquid electrolyte. The porous solid provides a low thermal conductivity, whereas the electrolyte tactically interacts with the solid to enlarge the PF. Unprecedented PF improvements (above 35 times) have already been observed by UncorrelaTEd members in this system using a material with modest TE properties. UncorrelaTEd aims at extending these improvements to different materials (bismuth telluride alloys, oxides, and polymers) with state-of-the-art TE properties, potentially leading to an extraordinarily powerful technology able to provide more than 4 times larger PF than state-of-the-art low-mid temperature (<150 ºC) materials and ZTs>3. This will enable the TE technology to be implemented in many areas, such as self-powered sensors, empowering the elimination of batteries, textiles, factories, power plants, and combustion engines.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 856 853,65
12006 Castellon De La Plana

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Este Comunitat Valenciana Castellón/Castelló
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 856 853,65

Participants (6)