Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Solar Thermoelectric(18804)

The Research Foundation of SUNY at Bing


Thermoelectric materials offer a way to collect solar radiation across the entire solar-electromagnetic spectrum by converting solar radiation to heat and harvesting the energy associated with the flow of this heat from a hot-temperature reservoir to a cold-temperature reservoir. Theoretically, thin film thermoelectric-active materials operated at hot-reservoir temperatures (100°C-400°C) and a cold-reservoir temperature of 20°C, have the potential to convert 10% to 35% of the incident solar-radiant energy to electrical energy and may surpass the efficiency of the best thin-film photovoltaic devices. To realize the benefits of this technology, materials with high values of "ZT" must be developed.

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Project Description

Solar Thermoelectric aims to develop highly-efficient thermoelectric nano-composites. To do so, it plans to determine optimum geometry and mass disorder required for phonon localization in a nano-composite material using molecular dynamics simulations and demonstrate a lattice thermal conductivity in a nano-composite thermoelectric material with a value below 0.05 W/mK. It also aims to demonstrate electrochemical-based nano-composite formation processes compatible with large area roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques. Finally, it intends to demonstrate a nano-composite Seebeck coefficient greater than 500µV/°K, and demonstrate feasibility of nano-composite material with a ZT greater than 6 (corresponding to 50% of Carnot Efficiency for temperature reservoirs of 500°K and 300°K).


Potentially, Solar Thermoelectric's approach could enhance efficiency through materials research, and lead to the development of new intellectual property.

Project Results


The Research Foundation of SUNY at Bing
P.O. Box 9
Albany, NY 12201

Principle Investigator

Bruce White

Universities Involved

SUNY Binghamton


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply
Solar Thermal Electric

NYSERDA Contact Information

Nicholas Tichich


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 7/13/2011
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 18804

Last Updated: 1/21/2014