Scientists from the GUT Faculty of Applied Physics and Mathematics have started a project which aims at developing cheap thermoelectric materials production technology. Their research is vital for the economy, as the possibilities of implementing thermoelectric generators and heat pumps are overwhelming.
Thermoelectric generators convert heat directly into electricity, while heat pumps allow transferring heat in order to warm up or cool down a given object.
"Thermoelectric generators currently in use are build of well-known materials, but they are not very efficient and include some toxic chemical elements. We are going to improve these devices by finding new materials to construct them", says Prof. Bogusław Kusz from the Department of Solid State Physics.
"Increasing efficiency of thermoelectric devices will definitely widen their application. They could be used in power plants, to cool down exhaust gases, processors or refrigerators, and even to power sensors or pacemakers implanted in patient bodies", Prof. Kusz specifies.
The known methods of production are based on heating chemical elements to very high temperatures, which requires significant energy consumption. The GUT physicists have discovered that oxide reduction in hydrogen is a much cheaper procedure.
"It is not a well-known process, so our aim is to learn more about it. We believe that our method will allow us to create more efficient materials, available in mass production", the project leader concludes.
Some experiments carried out by the team of Prof. Kusz were already described in scientific publications.
The scientists have three years to complete their research. They received financing from the Polish National Science Centre and plan to spend it on purchasing specialized scientific equipment.