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Harvesting waste thermal energy using a carbon-nanotube-based thermo-electrochemical cell

Hu, Renchong, Cola, Baratunde A., Haram, Nanda, Barisci, Joseph N., Lee, Sergey, Stoughton, Stephanie, Wallace, Gordon, Too, Chee, Thomas, Michael, Gestos, Adrian, dela Cruz, Marilou E., Ferraris, John P., Zakhidov, Anvar A. and Baughman, Ray H. 2010, Harvesting waste thermal energy using a carbon-nanotube-based thermo-electrochemical cell, Nano letters, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 838-846, doi: 10.1021/nl903267n.

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Title Harvesting waste thermal energy using a carbon-nanotube-based thermo-electrochemical cell
Author(s) Hu, Renchong
Cola, Baratunde A.
Haram, Nanda
Barisci, Joseph N.
Lee, Sergey
Stoughton, Stephanie
Wallace, Gordon
Too, Chee
Thomas, Michael
Gestos, Adrian
dela Cruz, Marilou E.
Ferraris, John P.
Zakhidov, Anvar A.
Baughman, Ray H.
Journal name Nano letters
Volume number 10
Issue number 3
Start page 838
End page 846
Total pages 9
Publisher American Chemical Society
Place of publication Washington, D. C.
Publication date 2010-03-10
ISSN 1530-6984
1530-6992
Keyword(s) carbon nanotubes
low-grade waste heat
thermal energy harvesting
thermo-electrochemical cells
thermocells
thermogalvanic cells
Summary Low efficiencies and costly electrode materials have limited harvesting of thermal energy as electrical energy using thermo-electrochemical cells (or “thermocells”). We demonstrate thermocells, in practical configurations (from coin cells to cells that can be wrapped around exhaust pipes), that harvest low-grade thermal energy using relatively inexpensive carbon multiwalled nanotube (MWNT) electrodes. These electrodes provide high electrochemically accessible surface areas and fast redox-mediated electron transfer, which significantly enhances thermocell current generation capacity and overall efficiency. Thermocell efficiency is further improved by directly synthesizing MWNTs as vertical forests that reduce electrical and thermal resistance at electrode/substrate junctions. The efficiency of thermocells with MWNT electrodes is shown to be as high as 1.4% of Carnot efficiency, which is 3-fold higher than for previously demonstrated thermocells. With the cost of MWNTs decreasing, MWNT-based thermocells may become commercially viable for harvesting low-grade thermal energy.
Language eng
DOI 10.1021/nl903267n
Field of Research 090607 Power and Energy Systems Engineering (excl Renewable Power)
100708 Nanomaterials
091305 Energy Generation, Conversion and Storage Engineering
Socio Economic Objective 850599 Renewable Energy not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, American Chemical Society
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30047888

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Institute for Frontier Materials
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