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Towards polymer-based organic thermoelectric generators
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Physics and Electronics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Physics and Electronics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8845-6296
2012 (English)In: Energy & Environmental Science, ISSN 1754-5692, Vol. 5, no 11, 9345-9362 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In response to the thread of environmental and ecological degradation along with projected fossil fuel depletion the active search for efficient renewable energy conversion technologies has been attempted in various research areas including the field of thermoelectrics. Despite the availability of considerable amounts of waste and natural heat stored in warm fluids (andlt;250 degrees C) a lack of environmentally friendly materials with high natural abundance, low manufacturing cost and high thermoelectric efficiency impedes the widespread use of thermoelectric generators for energy harvesting on a large scale. In this perspective, we examine the possibility of using organic conducting polymers in thermoelectric applications. We provide an overview of the background and the key concepts of organic thermoelectrics and illustrate some of the first prototypes of polymer-based organic thermoelectric generators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Royal Society of Chemistry , 2012. Vol. 5, no 11, 9345-9362 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85293DOI: 10.1039/c2ee22777kISI: 000310006200015OAI: diva2:570300

Funding Agencies|European Research Council||Swedish foundation for strategic research||Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation||Swedish Energy Agency||Advanced Functional Materials Center at Linkoping University||

Available from: 2012-11-19 Created: 2012-11-15 Last updated: 2013-09-12
In thesis
1. Thermoelectric properties of conducting polymers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Thermoelectric properties of conducting polymers
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

According to different sources, from forty to sixty percent of the overall energy generated in the world today is squandered in waste heat. The existing energy conversion technologies are either close to their efficiency limits or too costly to justify their implementation. Therefore, the development of new technological approaches for waste heat recovery is highly demanded. The field of thermoelectrics can potentially provide an inexpensive, clean and efficient solution to waste heat underutilization, given that a new type of thermoelectric materials capable of meeting those requirements are available.

This thesis reports on strategies to optimize a thermoelectric efficiency (ZT) of conducting polymers, more specifically poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (Pedot). Conducting polymers constitute a special class of semiconductors characterized by low thermal conductivity as well as electrical conductivity and thermopower that can be readily modified by doping in order to achieve the best combination of thermoelectric parameters. Conducting polymers that have never previously been regarded as hypothetically compatible for thermoelectric energy conversion, can exhibit promising thermoelectric performance at moderate temperatures, which is a sought-after quality for waste heat recovery. A rather substandard thermoelectric efficiency of Pedot-Pss can be markedly improved by various secondary dopants whose addition usually improves polymer’s morphology accompanied by a drastic increase in electrical conductivity and, consequently, in ZT. In order to enable further enhancement in thermoelectric properties, the optimization of the charge carrier concentration is commonly used. The oxidation level of Pedot-Pss can be precisely controlled by electrochemical doping resulting in a tenfold increase of ZT. In contrast to Pedot-Pss, another conducting polymer Pedot-Tos exhibits superior thermoelectric performance even without secondary doping owning to its partially crystalline nature that allows for an improved electronic conduction. With the aid of a strong electron donor, positively doped Pedot-Tos gets partially reduced reaching the optimum oxidation state at which its thermoelectric efficiency is just four times smaller than that of Be2Te3 and the highest among all stable conducting polymers. The downsides associated with chemical doping of Pedot-Tos such as doping inhomogeneity or chemical dopants air sensitivity can be surmounted if the doping level of Pedot-Tos is controlled by acidity/basicity of the polymer. This approach yields similar maximum thermoelectric efficiency but does not necessitate inert conditions for sample preparation. Optimized Pedot-Tos/Pedot-Pss can be functionalized as a p-type material in organic thermogenerators (OTEG) to power low energy electronic devices. If printed on large areas, OTEGs could be used as an alternative technique for capturing heat discarded by industrial processes, households, transportation sector or any natural heat sources for electricity production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 53 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1491
Thermoelectric generation, Seebeck coefficient, conducting polymers, thermoelectric efficiency.
National Category
Natural Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-87476 (URN)978-91-7519-741-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-01-25, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2013-01-18 Created: 2013-01-18 Last updated: 2015-05-06Bibliographically approved

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