Metal oxide NANOwires as efficient high-temperature THERmoelectric Materials

Bando: Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) bando Progetti Seed anno 2009

The conversion efficiency of state of the art thermoelectric generators is limited to about 6%: higher performance low weight high-temperature thermoelectric materials than those that are currently in use are strongly needed. It has recently been shown that Si based quasi monodimensional 1D nanowires can be designed to achieve extremely large enhancements in thermoelectric efficiency, but only for low temperature (T<350K) thermoelectric. Quasi 1D metal oxide nanowires (MOX) would indeed provide the benefits of reduced dimensionality with their excellent durability at high temperatures and are formidable candidates to develop high-temperature thermoelectrics.
NANOTHER objective is to assess the thermoelectric performances of quasi 1D MOX nanowires prepared by a simple and low cost evaporation condensation method and to build innovative thermoelectric modules to be employed in radioisotope thermoelectric generators and in the automotive industry in terms of fuel economy improvements by generating electricity from high temperature waste heat and enhancing air conditioning efficiency. Beside developed modules could have a significant impact on low power portable electronics.