Partnering opportunity

Licenses offered for photo-thermoelectric cell for conversion of thermal energy into electricity

Summary

A Spanish research institution has developed a photo-thermoelectric cell with spectral selectivity to visible and infrared lights. If the cell is part of a thermoelectric generator, the device allows the conversion of the heat produced by incident radiation into electrical energy. This technology can also be used to take advantage of the residual heat of machines or electrical circuits. An industrial partner is sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement.

Partner sought

Industrial partner from the energy industry is being sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement. The partner role will be: (i) produce the cells and, (ii) commercialize the cells.

Description

A Spanish research institution has developed a photo-thermoelectric cell with spectral selectivity to visible and infrared lights. This device is presented as a new option to produce electrical energy, or to take advantage of residual heat. The photo-thermal thin-film cell presented is similar to photovoltaic cells but, due to the nature of its materials, its manufacturing can be accomplished with much simpler technologies. The cell consists on a thermoelectric material, which can produce electricity when it is subjected to a temperature difference. To enhance this process, a spectrally selective coating (SSC) is applied in different areas; this SSC allows to increase the temperature of the material covered area and generate electric current. The correct election of the different layer thicknesses, combined with an appropriate substrate and coating, allows producing better architectures than those currently proposed for some applications: the present photo-thermal cell shows the same properties, it has higher efficiency, and it can lead to lower production costs. Industrial partner is being sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement. The partner role will be: (i) produce the cells and, (ii) commercialize the cells.

Advantages and innovations

Then main advantages are: 1.- The photo-thermoelectric cell is produced by a deposition process of the different layers, which can be adapted to the required design. 2.- The cell layers can be prepared following a large-scale economic process. In addition, the presence of defects on the thermoelectric material does not hinder the correct operation of the cell. 3.- The simplest design showed values of 0.5 V on cell. 4.- During experimental tests, efficiency values around 0.11% were achieved. 5.- The main application of this technology is the conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy, either being part of a thermoelectric generator, or take advantage of the residual heat of other machines or electrical circuits. The innovation is related to the layers' lay-out and the use of the spectrally selective coating. These innovations improve the cell efficiency.

Development stage

Under development/lab tested

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted


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