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Title: Nanostructured Bulk Thermoelectric Generator for Efficient Power Harvesting for Self-powered Sensor Networks

The objective of this Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology research project is to develop high-efficiency and reliable thermoelectric generators for self-powered wireless sensors nodes utilizing thermal energy from nuclear plant or fuel cycle. The power harvesting technology has crosscutting significance to address critical technology gaps in monitoring nuclear plants and fuel cycle. The outcomes of the project will lead to significant advancement in sensors and instrumentation technology, reducing cost, improving monitoring reliability and therefore enhancing safety. The self-powered wireless sensor networks could support the long-term safe and economical operation of all the reactor designs and fuel cycle concepts, as well as spent fuel storage and many other nuclear science and engineering applications. The research is based on recent breakthroughs in high-performance nanostructured bulk (nanobulk) thermoelectric materials that enable high-efficiency direct heat-to-electricity conversion over a wide temperature range. The nanobulk thermoelectric materials that the research team at Boise State University and University of Houston has developed yield up to a 50% increase in the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, compared with state-of-the-art bulk counterparts. This report focuses on the selection of optimal thermoelectric materials for this project. The team has performed extensive study on two thermoelectric materials systems, i.e. the half-Heusler materials,more » and the Bismuth-Telluride materials. The report contains our recent research results on the fabrication, characterization and thermoelectric property measurements of these two materials.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS Power Harvesting; Thermoelectric materials; Thermoelectric properties