Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Nano-engineering for efficient energy conversion systems (NANOTHERMEL)

Funded under: FP5-GROWTH


This project summary is one of a series featured in the nanotechnology projects showcase on CORDIS:

Thermoelectric (TE) materials have a unique position for their dual purpose: electrical generation on one side and cooling/heating on the other side. Power generation is achieved by applying a temperature difference between two ends of the TE material, while cooling or heating is obtained by applying electrical current. Thermoelectrics have very attractive features, such as small size, simplicity, and reliability, and have important applications for power generation or cooling both for terrestrial and space applications. With state-of-the-art research and development, it is clear that new generation TE materials and devices are expected to play an important role in the development of clean and efficient energy conversion systems.

There is actually the need for the development of novel methods for the fabrication of high performance TE materials for several devices and systems. Improvement of the materials performance can be achieved through "nanostructuring" and the introduction of structural modifications of TE materials. This includes developing a technology for the different steps in processing the materials to devices (compacting, shaping, sintering, electrical contact, etc.). In this context, the project also deals with the evaluation of prototype devices for electrical energy generators, coolers, and thermal sensors.

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