The need for energy sustainability and the environmental consequences of the use of fossil fuels make the development of technologies for clean energy generation imperative. Thermoelectric (TE) materials convert waste heat into electricity. As 60% of all energy we use is lost into heat during conversion processes, TE materials could play a major role in energy savings.
Over the last several years, however, highly heterogeneous nanostructured materials have emerged as the most promising candidates for realizing the high performance needed. One novel thermoelectric system that has emerged is the hybrid solid-liquid system, where a porous nanostructured TE material is impregnated by an electrolyte (liquid with ions). The electrolyte fills the pores and due to the presence of different electrochemical processes (e.g. double layer, redox reactions). In this way, the thermoelectric properties of the solid can be significantly improved, with initial experimental demonstrations of up to 3-fold improvements in efficiency.
This project investigates, through theory and large scale simulation, the electronic and thermoelectric performance of this hybrid-liquid system, and further optimizes their TE conversion efficiency. An understanding of how electrons and phonons flow in such complex environments, as well as how the electrolyte affects the solid medium will be developed. For this, a variety of electronic and thermal transport methods (semiclassical and quantum mechanical) are utilized appropriately in a multi-physics, multi-scale methodology. The targeted applications of this technology vary from power generation (heat from industrial process, car exhausts, etc.) to micro-scavenging, i.e. to realize self-powered sensor devices that enable the Internet of Things.
The project is part of a large European FET Open Euro project and benefits from collaboration with experimentalist groups and companies in Spain, Sweden, and France.
Eligibility: The interested student should have a degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Physics or Chemistry. Expertise in programming is favoured.
How to Apply
Email a full CV, academic transcripts, and cover letter, explaining your interest in pursuing a PhD in this area to: N.Neophytou@warwick.ac.uk
The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.