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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Power Generating Coverings and Casings

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Power Generating Coverings and Casings, Phase II

Advances in structured heterogeneity together with nanomaterials tailoring has made it possible to create thermoelectrics using high temperature, polymer composites. While such thermoelectrics do not have the capability to approach the efficiency of top performing ceramic modules such as BiTe, they do provide two unique aspects of use in energy scavenging: the ability to conform to irregular large shaped areas easily, and the ability to integrate kinetic energy scavenging together with heat scavenging. During Phase I, the group at Wake Forest University demonstrated that the combination of thermal and vibrational power production is actually synergetic –the amount of power generated is greater than the sum of the individual components. This improvement in nanocomposite thermoelectric performance, coupled with effective kinetic energy scavenging makes the piezo-thermo-electric "PowerFelt™" applicable to a wide range of power collection scenarios. Although the goal of making a 1-m2 material was not completed, significant progress has been made and this capability will be available in Phase II. A sample of "PowerFelt™" was sent to the National Institute for Standards and Testing for independent testing. Their results confirmed that "PowerFelt™" was significantly better than other power producing films and competitive or better than ceramics that cannot conform to the shape of the heat and vibration source. The material was successfully field tested at the Stennis Space Center at their liquid nitrogen supply facility.

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