Aerogel Derived Nanostructured Thermoelectric Materials
Refrigeration, air conditioning, and other cooling requirements in the buildings, industry, and transportation sectors account for about 10 quads of U.S. primary energy consumption. Since the efficiency of the best Vapor Compression Cycle (VCC) systems may be approaching asymptotic values; the potential for significant improvement of current technologies may be limited. Therefore, the DOE is seeking the development of advanced technologies that are more energy efficient, and avoid net greenhouse gas emissions, reduce lifecycle costs, and can impact large markets. To meet this need, this project will develop new materials that can be used in advanced technologies for space cooling in buildings, and for refrigeration in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. The fabrication of a cooling device that is more efficient than conventional air conditioners and refrigerators was thought to be years away, because materials with a figure of merit >3 do not currently exist. However, the proposed approach will make this possible by lowering the thermal conductivity of thermoelectric (TE) materials, introducing porosity, and reducing the size of TE particles. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee:The new cooling technology is expected to be more energy efficient than current technologies and will not use refrigerants that contribute to global warming, while achieving costs at or below current levels for comparable systems. Small-scale devices based on the materials developed also should find application in the thermal control of electronic devices.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Aspen Aerogels, Incorporated
30 Forbes Road Bldg B Northborough, MA 01532
Number of Employees: