Waste heat to power


Thermoelectric materials have now been studied for several decades. Improved TE materials are emerging with the so-called second-generation thermoelectric materials (GEN2 TE) in particular silicides and half-Heuslers. These materials are affordable, mostly based on earth-abundant elements and eco-friendly. They can have a positive impact on theEuropean industry and society by converting waste heat into electricity. As GEN2 TE materials are raising growing interest, pilot lines resulting from partnerships between public research institutes, industrial research teams and SME are emerging in Europe. 

Transport, notably automotive, and process industries, in particular metallurgy, glass and chemicals, are today responsible for a large amount of waste heat above 140°C, estimated to reach 5 000 GWh/year, worldwide. Directly generating electricity from waste heat by means of thermoelectric generators could therefore significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of these activities. However, thermoelectric materials have not yet found their way into mass markets due to lack of sustainable sources of materials for production, progress to be made on the required material performance and an industrial production capacity. The INTEGRAL project was started to catch this opportunity, allowing industry to step up towards advanced manufacturing and commercialization of systems integrating multifunctional thermoelectric materials.

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