Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New thermoelectric material could be an energy saver

Date:
November 27, 2012
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
By using common materials found pretty much anywhere there is dirt, a team of researchers has developed a new thermoelectric material. This is important, they said, because the vast majority of heat that is generated from, for example, a car engine, is lost through the tail pipe. It's the thermoelectric material's job to take that heat and turn it into something useful, like electricity.

MSU doctoral student Xu Lu is part of a team that has developed a new thermoelectric material. Here Lu works in the MSU Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion.
Credit: Photo by G. L. Kohuth

By using common materials found pretty much anywhere there is dirt, a team of Michigan State University researchers has developed a new thermoelectric material.

Related Articles


This is important, they said, because the vast majority of heat that is generated from, for example, a car engine, is lost through the tail pipe. It's the thermoelectric material's job to take that heat and turn it into something useful, like electricity.

The researchers, led by Donald Morelli, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science, developed the material based on natural minerals known as tetrahedrites.

"What we've managed to do is synthesize some compounds that have the same composition as natural minerals," said Morelli, who also directs MSU's Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion. "The mineral family that they mimic is one of the most abundant minerals of this type on Earth -- tetrahedrites.

"By modifying its composition in a very small way, we produced highly efficient thermoelectric materials."

The search to develop new thermoelectric materials has been ongoing. Morelli said that while some new, more efficient materials have been discovered as of late, many of those are not suitable for large-scale applications because they are derived from rare or sometimes toxic elements, or the synthesis procedures are complex and costly.

"Typically you'd mine minerals, purify them into individual elements, and then recombine those elements into new compounds that you anticipate will have good thermoelectric properties," he said. "But that process costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. Our method bypasses much of that."

The MSU researchers' method involves the use of very common materials, grinding them to a powder, then using pressure and heat to compress into useable sizes.

"It saves tremendously in terms of processing costs," he said.

The researchers expect this discovery could pave the way to many new, low-cost thermoelectric generation opportunities with applications that include waste heat recovery from industrial power plants, conversion of vehicle exhaust gas heat into electricity, and generation of electricity in home-heating furnaces.

The research was published in the online journal Advanced Energy Materials.

The work is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Science. The work is a partnership with the University of Michigan and UCLA. Other institutions involved with the MSU-based center are Northwestern University, the Ohio State University, Wayne State University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

For more information on the Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion, visit www.egr.msu.edu/efrc/about-us%20.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xu Lu, Donald T. Morelli, Yi Xia, Fei Zhou, Vidvuds Ozolins, Hang Chi, Xiaoyuan Zhou, Ctirad Uher. High Performance Thermoelectricity in Earth-Abundant Compounds Based on Natural Mineral Tetrahedrites. Advanced Energy Materials, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201200650

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "New thermoelectric material could be an energy saver." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127191250.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2012, November 27). New thermoelectric material could be an energy saver. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127191250.htm
Michigan State University. "New thermoelectric material could be an energy saver." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127191250.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama Reveals Nuclear Breakthrough on Landmark India Trip

Obama Reveals Nuclear Breakthrough on Landmark India Trip

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 25, 2015) In a glow of bonhomie, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveil a deal aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in nuclear trade. Pavithra George reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) In light of high-profile plane disappearances in the past year, the NTSB has called for changes to make finding missing aircraft easier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 22, 2015) Classic children&apos;s toy Meccano has gone digital, releasing a programmable kit robot that can be controlled by voice recognition. The toymakers say Meccanoid G15 KS is easy to use and is compatible with existing Meccano pieces. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

Rumble (Jan. 22, 2015) The VueXL from VX1 is a product that you install your smartphone in and with the magic of magnification lenses, enlarges your smartphones screen so that it&apos;s like looking at a big screen TV. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins