Direct Conversion of Heat to Electricity Using First-Order Phase Transformations in Ferroelectrics

Ashley Bucsek, William Nunn, Bharat Jalan, Richard D. James

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a growing and drastically underutilized abundance of energy stored on earth at small temperature difference, most familiarly in the form of low-grade waste heat. For the purpose of making use of this stockpile of energy, the direct conversion of heat to electricity is demonstrated using first-order phase transformations in lead-free BaTiO3 ferroelectrics. The thermodynamics of solid-state energy conversion using first-order phase transformations is investigated using a free-energy approach wherein the importance of the well-known Clausius-Clapeyron relation in opening up the mixed-phase region is discussed. A simple two-capacitor circuit is introduced to experimentally demonstrate the direct conversion of heat to electricity. By fluctuating the temperature by just ±5âC, current spikes of roughly 1 μA are sent back and forth across an electric load with no external battery attached. Finally, a supercritical ferroelectric Carnot cycle that would produce an energy density of 1.15 J/cm3 with a thermal efficiency of 15% is introduced, simulated, and compared with state-of-the-art pyroelectric energy-conversion methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034043
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 23 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the reviewers for helpful comments. A.B. was supported by a UMN President??s Postdoctoral Fellowship and W.N. received partial support from the Norwegian Centennial Chair Program (NOCC). All authors received support from the Institute on the Environment (RDF fund). R.D.J. also benefited from the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) (DMREF-1629026), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) (N00014-18-1-2766), the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) (FA9550-18-1-0095), the Medtronic Corporation, and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. R.D.J. thanks the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences for support during the program ??The mathematical design of new materials? by the EPSRC under Grant No. EP/R014604/1

Funding Information:
The authors thank the reviewers for helpful comments. A.B. was supported by a UMN President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship and W.N. received partial support from the Norwegian Centennial Chair Program (NOCC). All authors received support from the Institute on the Environment (RDF fund). R.D.J. also benefited from the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) (DMREF-1629026), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) (N00014-18-1-2766), the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) (FA9550-18-1-0095), the Medtronic Corporation, and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. R.D.J. thanks the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences for support during the program “The mathematical design of new materials” by the EPSRC under Grant No. EP/R014604/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Physical Society.

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