Waste Heat to Electrical Energy via Sustainable Organic Thermoelectric Devices

It is estimated that mankind wastes ~20% of the 15 terawatts required annually for global power consumption as low level heat (<200 oC). This amounts to 10^20 J/yr, which is greater than the total annual energy usage of all EU member states. Widespread availability of new low-cost organic thermoelectric devices would allow direct heat-to-electrical energy (H2E) from this vast, essentially untapped, resource generating a new industrial sector based on local power generation from otherwise wasted energy sources (engines, boilers, heat pumps, etc.) amounting up to 50 billion /yr. New materials and devices are needed to achieve such disruptive technology as present approaches are not viable for reasons either of: (i) device inefficiency, and/or (ii) global raw material unavailability preventing widespread implementation. The development of efficient, thermoelectric modules using only low-cost, readily available, renewable and sustainable organic materials would address a range of major transnational FET challenges impacting on energy efficiency, climate change, resources depletion and personalised electricity generation/use that will arise within the next decade. To achieve this goal the H2ESOT project is pluri-disciplinary and cross-thematic project from leading European groups able to: prepare, purify, fabricate, test and theoretically define/evolve the organic materials that are needed to fulfil this Innovation Europe 2020 vision. Europe must reach a position where it can begin to make use of a significant fraction of its waste heat in order to overcome the immense societal changes associated with sustainable growth and mitigating climate change. Only organic thermoelectric devices ultimately offer the potential for Thermoelectronic (TE) FET that can be widely deployed to recover low level heat. Only H2ESOT has the optimal blend of expertise to develop an appropriate roadmap to such revolutionary new TE materials defining a critically important new industry. 

Responsible person: Dr M. Rutkis