Power generation from nanostructured PbTe-based thermoelectrics

Comprehensive development from materials to modules

Xiaokai Hu, Priyanka Jood, Michihiro Ohta, Masaru Kunii, Kazuo Nagase, Hirotaka Nishiate, Mercouri G Kanatzidis, Atsushi Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this work, we demonstrate the use of high performance nanostructured PbTe-based materials in high conversion efficiency thermoelectric modules. We fabricated the samples of PbTe-2% MgTe doped with 4% Na and PbTe doped with 0.2% PbI2 with high thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) and sintered them with Co-Fe diffusion barriers for use as p- and n-type thermoelectric legs, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy of the PbTe legs reveals two shapes of nanostructures, disk-like and spherical. The reduction in lattice thermal conductivity through nanostructuring gives a ZT of ∼1.8 at 810 K for p-type PbTe and ∼1.4 at 750 K for n-type PbTe. Nanostructured PbTe-based module and segmented-leg module using Bi2Te3 and nanostructured PbTe were fabricated and tested with hot-side temperatures up to 873 K in a vacuum. The maximum conversion efficiency of ∼8.8% for a temperature difference (ΔT) of 570 K and ∼11% for a ΔT of 590 K have been demonstrated in the nanostructured PbTe-based module and segmented Bi2Te3/nanostructured PbTe module, respectively. Three-dimensional finite-element simulations predict that the maximum conversion efficiency of the nanostructured PbTe-based module and segmented Bi2Te3/nanostructured PbTe module reaches 12.2% for a ΔT of 570 K and 15.6% for a ΔT of 590 K respectively, which could be achieved if the electrical and thermal contact between the nanostructured PbTe legs and Cu interconnecting electrodes is further improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-529
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

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power generation
Conversion efficiency
Power generation
thermal conductivity
transmission electron microscopy
electrode
Diffusion barriers
temperature
Nanostructures
Thermal conductivity
Vacuum
Transmission electron microscopy
simulation
Temperature
Electrodes
material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering

Cite this

Power generation from nanostructured PbTe-based thermoelectrics : Comprehensive development from materials to modules. / Hu, Xiaokai; Jood, Priyanka; Ohta, Michihiro; Kunii, Masaru; Nagase, Kazuo; Nishiate, Hirotaka; Kanatzidis, Mercouri G; Yamamoto, Atsushi.

In: Energy and Environmental Science, Vol. 9, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 517-529.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hu, Xiaokai ; Jood, Priyanka ; Ohta, Michihiro ; Kunii, Masaru ; Nagase, Kazuo ; Nishiate, Hirotaka ; Kanatzidis, Mercouri G ; Yamamoto, Atsushi. / Power generation from nanostructured PbTe-based thermoelectrics : Comprehensive development from materials to modules. In: Energy and Environmental Science. 2016 ; Vol. 9, No. 2. pp. 517-529.
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