07/27/2015

Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

Thermoelectrics on the road between Academia and Industry

Nowadays, the majority of primary energy used by mankind from coal, oil or gas gets lost as waste heat. Therefore, the direct conversion of heat into electricity using thermoelectric materials is one of the most important technologies for the implementation of the ecological energy transition.

From June 28 to July 2, the 34th International Conference on Thermoelectrics (ICT) took place at the International Congress Center Dresden, merging this year with the 14th European Conference on Thermoelectrics. Main organizer of the conference was the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (Research Center Chemical Metallurgy, Prof. Juri Grin). More than 750 scientists from 44 countries around the world presented the results of basic and applied research in more than 600 oral presentations and posters. During the five days, the latest developments in the field of production of thermoelectric materials as well as development and production of thermoelectric modules have been discussed intensively. The promising prospects of thermoelectric research attract especially young scientists: more than 200 participants were graduate students.

In her opening speech, Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, Saxony State Minister for Science and Art, underlined the great importance of research and development in future technologies for the industrial locations of Saxony. In her speech, she stressed that particularly education as well as support and promotion of junior scientists play a key role for sustainability and future success.

The importance of the conference is also indicated by a large number of sponsors and numerous exhibitors from leading industrial companies. For example, a prototype of a truck was presented, where new thermoelectric modules enable an energy recovery from the waste heat otherwise unused.

The conference has also shown that in many other areas, where heat otherwise fizzles unused, thermoelectric materials gain more and more importance - from large-scale industrial applications like in power plants or in the metal production to mobile phone chargers and other small devices in everyday life.

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