Quantum Dot Nanocomposite Based Novel Thermoelectric Materials

Period of Performance: 09/01/2012 - 09/01/2014


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Colorado Boulder
572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: Energy harvesting has emerged as a critical need for many current and future Air Force missions to enable their long endurance requirements. Traditional approaches have focused on harvesting solar and vibration (i.e., via the use of piezoelectric materials) energy. More recently, substantial interest has developed in harvesting energy derived from thermal gradients (e.g., due to solar radiation and/or waste heat) as it has the potential to greatly surpass the power generation capabilities of more traditional approaches. Unfortunately, deficiencies in performance, high process costs, manufacturing, toxicity and durability of state-of-the-art ceramic-based thermoelectric (TE) materials have prevented their widespread adoption. To address these needs, ADA Technologies, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Colorado, propose the development of a novel, durable, high performance and highly scalable thermoelectric material based on polymer nanocomposites. BENEFIT: Energy harvesting and conversion are critical needs of numerous military applications. For example, future high altitude unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and micro air vehicles (MAVs) possess an acute need for lightweight energy generation systems due to their relatively small size that severely restricts their on-board power systems. Further, wireless aircraft health monitoring systems are only feasible using an energy harvesting system such as a thermoelectric generator. High performance energy harvesting systems would also be attractive to dismounted soldiers and airmen to reduce their energy storage device mass burden and thus, significantly enhance their safety. The utilization of low-temperature thermoelectric generators in conjunction with higher efficiency energy storage devices is anticipated to lead to dramatic weight reductions and increase the soldier payload capabilities. Potential commercial uses of low-temperature thermoelectrics include structural health monitors for wind turbine blades and civil infrastructure, automobile passenger comfort equipment, and numerous applications in consumer electronics.