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The use of thermoelectric generators (TEG) for the conversion of thermal energy into electric energy aims at increasing the overall efficiency of a plant/system by the energy recovery of waste heat.

The absence of moving parts and thus low maintenance, the high reliability and small dimensions make TEGs as good candidates in remote applications such as gas pipelines.
The basic unit of thermoelectric conversion consists of two different semiconductor materials connected as a thermocouple and the final device is a module consisting of a suitable number of these pairs.

The worlwide research is focused on improving the figure of merit ZT of these components. Recent studies demonstrated the feasibility of combining the thermoelectric conversion technology to various heat sources (solar, coal, industrial waste heat) within the co-generation in medium-high temperature range. The ICMATE activity in recent years was focused on this topic, studying thermoelectric materials based on silicides that convert heat at 600°C to electricity.

In Padova site, we can prepare thermoelectric materials for medium-high temperature applications (silicides, tetrahedrites) with various methods (solid state reaction, chemical synthesis, solvothermal procedures).
We can characterize the chemico-physical and functional properties of materials (thermal conductivity, Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, ZT, ….) and design and develop suitable test equipments for this purpose.

And we went further, with the design and development of components for the realization of a thermoelectric module based on silicides, with the development of electrodes and with the design and development of an equipment to measure the contact resistance. We have also developed a testing device oriented to the maximum flexibility, based on the heat flow meter method at the cold side of the module operating in vacuum (from RT up to 800 K) or inert atmosphere to test modules with a footprint up to 60x60 mm2.

Modeling and evaluation of mechanical strength of the modules
Contact resistance measurement

Testing device for modules based on the heat flow meter method at the cold side, operating in vacuum or inert atmosphere (from RT up to 800 K)
    thermoelectric materials and modules magnesium and manganese silicides tetrahedrites synthesis thermoelectric characterization TEG modules contact resistance testing of TEG modules at intermediat temperatures

    • S. Fiameni, A. Famengo, S. Boldrini, S. Battiston, M. Saleemi, M. Stingaciu, M. Jhonsson, S. Barison, M. Fabrizio
      Introduction of metal oxides in Mg2Si thermoelectric materials by Spark Plasma Sintering
      (2013) Journal of Electronic Materials 42(7), 2062-2066
    • S. Boldrini, A. Famengo, F. Montagner, S. Battiston, S. Fiameni, M. Fabrizio, S. Barison
      Test rig for high temperature thermopower and electrical conductivity measurements
      (2013) Journal of Electronic Materials 42(7), 1319-1323
    • S. Fiameni, A. Famengo, F. Agresti, S. Boldrini, S. Battiston, M. Saleemi, M. Johnsson, M. S. Toprak, M. Fabrizio
      Effect of Synthesis and Sintering Conditions on the Thermoelectric Properties of n-Doped Mg2Si
      Journal of Electronic Materials (2014), 43, 2301-2306
    • M. Saleemi, A. Famengo, S. Fiameni, S. Boldrini, S. Battiston, M. Johnsson, M. Muhammed, M. S. Toprak
      Thermoelectric performance of higher manganese silicide nanocomposites
      Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2015), 619, 31-37
    • A. Ferrario, S. Battiston, S. Boldrini, A. Miozzo, S. Fiameni, T. Sakamoto, E. Miorin, T. Iida, M. Fabrizio
      Mechanical and electrical characterization of low-resistivity contact materials for Mg2Si
      Materials Today: Proceedings (2015), 2(2), 573-582

    • Accordo di Programma CNR-Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico per la Ricerca di Sistema Elettrico

    • KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
    • Tokyo University of Science (Japan)
    • CNR ITC