A Thin-film Thermoelectric Generator will be Developed Using a Novel Manufacturing Approach

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85906
Agency Tracking Number: 94112
Amount: $999,800.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 03 b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000508
Small Business Information
Plasma Controls, Llc
1180 La Eda Lane, Fort Collins, CO, 80526-4415
DUNS: 809071538
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Casey Farnell
 Dr.
 (970) 581-2239
 casey.farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Business Contact
 Casey Farnell
Title: Dr.
Phone: (970) 581-2239
Email: casey.farnell@plasmacontrols.com
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
The Department of Energy is interested in increasing the performance and cost-effectiveness of thermoelectric generator modules intended for waste heat recovery systems. Although high-efficiency small-scale thermoelectric materials have been demonstrated in the laboratory, scaling to production-level devices has proven difficult. A team of researchers from Plasma Controls, LLC, Colorado State University, Ceramatec, Inc., and the University of Denver will develop a thermoelectric generator module appropriate for waste heat recovery applications using a unique manufacturing approach. The module is based on thermoelectric materials that have high thermoelectric figures of merit and are formed from low-cost materials appropriate for large-scale manufacturing. In Phase I, thermoelectrics were created over a range of conditions, and experiments were used to test their performance, obtaining Seebeck, resistivity, and thermal conductivity values. A thermoelectric device based on these materials was designed. In Phase II, we will construct and test sub-scale thermoelectric generator couples to establish the module design. A scaled-up module will be constructed for final demonstration. Computational analysis will accompany the experimental lab work. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The thermoelectric generator module is being designed for waste heat recovery in smaller-scale diesel and natural gas engines. These include engines used in distributed power generation, pipeline pumping stations, long-haul trucks, marine vessels, locomotives, and lighter duty vehicles among others. A waste heat recovery system utilizing both thermoelectric generator modules and an organic Rankine cycle has the potential to increase power production efficiency by five percent or more.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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