Transport, notably automotive, and process industries, in particular metallurgy, glass and chemicals, are today responsible for a large amount of waste heat above 140°C, estimated to reach 5 000 GWh/year, worldwide. Directly generating electricity from waste heat by means of thermoelectric generators could therefore significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of these activities. However, thermoelectric materials have not yet found their way into mass markets due to lack of sustainable sources of materials for production, progress to be made on the required material performance and an industrial production capacity.
As a new generation of thermoelectric materials are attracting a growing interest for waste-heat recovery and autonomous temperature control in industry, pilot lines resulting from partnerships between public research institutes, industrial research teams and SMEs are emerging in Europe. The aim of the INTEGRAL project is to upscale this new generation of thermoelectric technology, using existing and growing pilot industry lines, in order to address mass markets (transport, process industries), and to produce advanced functional materials with customized electrical and thermal conductivities. The INTEGRAL project is unique since it gathers leading companies developing these materials in Europe. Furthermore, the large-scale manufacturing processes to be developed for producing nanostructured materials within the project cut across multiple sectors to find a wide range of applications outside thermoelectrics, i.e. where customization of electrical or thermal properties of sintered or casted materials is needed. Finally, a technology transfer will be performed towards the commercialization of a new generation of advanced multifunctional materials with a circular economy vision.
Our specific objectives are:
- To develop customized multifunctional new generation thermoelectric materials
- To upscale the new generation thermoelectric materials fabrication processes on existing pilot industrial lines
- To develop in-line real-time characterization of the materials and process control
- To demonstrate the performance stability and efficiency improvement of the functionalized new generation of thermoelectric materials
- Perform a technology transfer on the upgraded pilot lines
- Prepare the commercial deployment of new generation of advanced multifunctional materials with customized electrical and thermal properties with circular economy vision