Thermoelectrics trying to hit multi-billion dollar markets in cooling and waste heat recovery

Material and manufacturing cost considerations for thermoelectrics are driving commercialization attempts more than just figures of merit (ZT) Silicide materials cost 100 times less and some can still get a ZT of over 1. Previously it was believed that major commercialization would not happen until ZTs were reached a 3. Interest in thermoelectrics for waste-heat recovery and localized cooling has flourished in recent years, but questions about cost and scalability remain unanswered. This work investigates the fabrication costs and coupled thermal and electrical transport factors that govern device efficiency and commercial feasibility of the most promising thermoelectric materials. For 30 bulk and thin film thermoelectric mate rials, we quantify the tradeoff between efficiency and cost considering electrical and thermal transport at the system level, raw material prices, system component costs, and estimated manufacturing costs. This work neglects the cost of heat, as appropriate for most waste-heat recovery applications, and applies a power generation cost metric in $/W and a cooling operating cost metric in $/kWh.


See on Scoop.itHeat energy recovery technology


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