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The potential of 'thermoelectrics' for energy harvesting and cooling

23 March 2011

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) has announced details of a one-day workshop to explore emerging technologies and opportunities in the development of next generation thermoelectric and thermionic devices. The event, hosted in partnership with Johnson Matthey and Royal Holloway, University of London, will see presentations from key players from industry and academia including Jaguar Land Rover.

Thermal energy harvesting - generation of electrical power from waste heat - and thermal management – solid state cooling - are rapidly growing markets and important factors in efficient product design and the ‘low carbon economy’. Harvesting of waste heat is a top priority in industries such as power generation, automotive, transport, construction, energy utilities, and electronic devices.

The Thermoelectric Energy Solutions Workshop will provide a forum for technology developers and potential end users to find out about the latest developments and applications within this field and how nanomaterials are offering new approaches to the advancement of this technology area. 

A diverse selection of presentations from key organisations in the UK will look at the exciting potential of nanotechnology to develop new and ground-breaking devices. Dr Neil Fox of the University of Bristol, for example, will provide an overview of research into lithiated nanodiamond. Recently, this research has identified a diamond material that could transform the operation of thermionic devices, facilitating stable operation at temperatures much lower than commercially available materials. Dr Fox’s presentation will review how diamond thermionics came about and how the research at the University of Bristol is being advanced towards a real application.

Min Gao, University of Cardiff will overview the performances and characteristics of state-of-the-art thermoelectric devices, followed by a discussion of their suitability for energy harvesting applications. Min Gao will also discuss how understanding the unique characteristics, as well as the drawbacks of thermoelectric devices holds the key to successful exploitation of the technology for energy harvesting applications. Other speakers include Jaguar Land Rover, Ilika, National Physical Laboratory, the University of Glasgow and Royal Holloway, University of London.Participating delegates are also being offered the opportunity to present a short 2 minute elevator pitch which will facilitate networking.

“For anyone interested in developing products or investing in energy harvesting technologies, this unique event will pull together the UK experts and industrial users. By uniting those who work within this developing industry, we aim to help grow the programmes needed to advance R&D and identify gaps in the UK supply chain. We believe this is crucial if we are to see the huge potential of commercial applications in this area,” explains Dr Martin Kemp, Theme Manager, NanoKTN.
Further information about this event and the NanoKTN can be found here.

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