Thermoelectric Nanowire Networks: A low cost approach to energy recovery

A.J. Lohn, K.J. Norris, E. Coleman, G.S. Tompa, N.P. Kobayashi
University of California, Santa Cruz, US

Keywords: thermoelectric, nanowire, network, silicon, harvesting, energy, nanotechnology

Summary:

More energy is wasted in the US as heat than ever reaches consumers. Contemporary materials for converting that heat to electrical energy are both inefficient and expensive. Our approach utilizing semiconductor nanowire networks offers a number of advantages over current solutions in terms of decreased costs and increased utility. We will present our work primarily on silicon nanowire networks. We have fabricated and tested simple large area (2cm x 2cm) thermoelectric devices using inexpensive substrates and only highly scalable approaches. We will also review materials characterization, modeling and simulation results.