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MAGENTA Report Summary

Project ID: 731976
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.2.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MAGENTA (MAGnetic nanoparticle based liquid ENergy materials for Thermoelectric device Applications)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Today, thermal loss amounts to as much as 20 -50 % of total energy consumption across different industrial sectors and as much as 60-70% in internal combustion engine vehicles. Therefore, if even a small fraction of ‘waste-heat’ can be converted into more useful forms of energy such as electricity, it would lead to reducing considerable amount of energy consumption and to boosting industrial competitiveness. Thermoelectric (TE) materials that are capable of converting heat into electricity have been long considered as a possible solution to recover the low-grade waste-heat from industrial waste-stream, motor engines, household electronic appliances or body-heat. Solid semiconductor-based TE-modules were the first to enter the commercial application, and they still dominate the TE-market today. Despite their technical robustness including long life-time, simple usage involving no moving parts, TE-technology has long been limited mostly to small-power applications due to their low efficiency. Nanotechnology (nano-structuration) of TE materials has led to remarkable improvements in TE-energy conversion capacity in the past 20 years. However, the most promising materials reported in the literature are yet to enter a wide-scale commercial deployment, partly due to their small sizes, substantial production costs and the use of scarce and/or toxic raw materials.

In MAGENTA, we explore an alternative TE-technology using ionic liquid based ferrofluids (colloidal dispersions of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) in ionic liquids) made of earth abundant and non-toxic materials. The magneto-thermodiffusion of MNPs is believed to enhance the IL’s TE-energy conversion capacity and also gives an additional control parameter; namely, magnetic field. By developing application specific MTE materials and devices, we hope to provide innovation leadership to European companies in waste-heat recovery industries, in particular for the automobile and microelectronic sectors. Furthermore, MAGENTA strives to build an innovation ecosystem around the novel MTE technology, presenting long-term impacts on future renewal energy science and technology.

3 specific objectives of MAGENTA are: Providing foundational knowledge of novel MTE phenomena in IL based ferrofluids, Prototype thermoelectric modules, and Building an innovation ecosystem around the novel MTE technology in the field of waste-heat recovery research and development. To achieve these goals, the project is built upon 5 interacting technical blocks; namely; 1) Material synthesis and characterizations, 2) Magneto-thermoelectric and Magneto-thermodiffusion measurements and 3) Theoretical investigations, 4) Prototype development and 5) Dissemination and exploitation.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Material Synthesis and characterizations: After an intensive screening phase, the 1st generation ionic liquids were chosen, leading to the synthesis of 7 new IL based ferrofluids. In parallel, the effects of the chemical compositions and the surface coating of MNPs on their magnetic properties have been demonstrated.

MTD and MTE measurements: In both MTD and MTE work packages, new high-temperature experimental apparatuses were developed to take advantage of ILs that remain in their liquid phase beyond 100 °C. Improvements were brought to the optical-detection technique of MNP thermodiffusion, enabling the determination hitherto inaccessible physical parameters (i.e., local modulations of temperature and concentration). Progress was made on the understanding TE voltage (magnitude and sign) production mechanism in ILs and on the enhancement of TE coefficient by application of magnetic field in IL-FFs. Finally, the first measurements of thermoelectric and thermodiffusion in IL-FFs were performed.

Theory/Simulation: Different numerical and analytical approaches were taken to predict and analyze physical, chemical, electrochemical and thermoelectric behavior of MNPs, IL and the combinations thereof (IL-FF). These works led to unveiling; the magnetic behavior of MNPs in relation to their chemical and structural compositions, and reliable predictions of TE parameters (e.g., TE coefficients, ionic conductivity and melting points) in ionic liquids. Furthermore, an analytical model for describing the MNP’s contribution to IL’s Seebeck coefficient was formulated.

Prototype development: A highly modulable mock-up prototype thermocell was produced, which allows the performance testing of e.g. the construction materials, temperature and chemical resistance and thermal conductivity. The development of advanced prototypes; micro-thermoelectric generators and those for internal combustion engine vehicles have also started. In order to assess the relevance of proposed MAGENTA technology to the current TE device market, an extensive patent research was conducted on TE device/material/technology which indicates the uniqueness of our approach and its advantage over existing TE technologies.

Dissemination: The project logo and the website ( were created at the beginning of the 1st period. Data Management Plan was established for MAGENTA’s Open Research Data policy, including the use of a public data repository site, Zenodo. MAGENTA’s original concepts were promoted through the organization of one workshop and one international conference and the participation at a COST Action event.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"Beyond-the-state-of-the-art progresses were achieved in all fronts of project’s technical blocks, from material synthesis (7 new IL-FFs), characterizations (magnetism, MTE and MTD properties), comprehension (theoretical and numerical models and simulations) to 1st prototype thermocell construction as detailed above.
Building upon the results obtained in the 1st period, MAGENTA will continue to explore both the fundamental aspect of magneto-thermoelectric phenomena in IL-FFs and the technological aspect of building TE devices. In particular, MAGENTA will achieve following milestones toward the project’s final goals as stated above.
• Production novel thermoelectric IL-FFs and their characterizations, leading to the identification of IL-FFs with superior MTE properties that surpass those of existing liquid electrolytes. (3 milestones)
• Fundamental knowledge base building through numerical and analytical models describing the physical origins of MTE effects in IL-FFs.
• Quantification of power-output of prototype thermocells ready for trial by lead-user industries giving rise to patents and presentations at technology showcase, etc.
Due to its foundational character, a new line of R&D activities should follow MAGENTA, to seek enhanced TE effects in ferrofluids. MAGENTA members will participate in popular science events, including showcasing of demonstration prototype thermocell. An organization of a 5-day international conference on ""Modern concepts and new materials for thermo-electricity"" is also planned in 2019. As the project mature, the knowledge and skills developed within the project will be exploited to promote technology transfer to targeted industrial sectors, from ionic-liquids and nanofluids manufactures to automobile and mobile (micro) electronics industries, providing head-start competitiveness to European companies.

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