The group headed by Professor Bogusław Kusz carries out research project which aims at developing cheap thermoelectric materials production technology. Their research is vital for the economy, as the possibilities of implementing thermoelectric generators and heat pumps are overwhelming. Thermoelectric generators convert heat directly into electricity, while heat pumps allow transferring heat in order to warm up or cool down a given object. Increasing efficiency of thermoelectric devices will definitely widen their application. They could be used in power plants, to cool down exhaust gases, processors or refrigerators, and even to power sensors or pacemakers implanted in patient bodies.
Thermoelectric generators currently in use are built of well-known materials, but they are not very efficient and include some toxic chemical elements. Furthermore, the known methods of production of thermoelectric materials are based on heating chemical elements to very high temperatures, which requires significant energy consumption. The aim of this project is to fabricate alternative materials without toxic substrates and using a simple and a cheap method of reduction of oxide precursors. Due to the fact, that this reduction is not a well-known process, its understanding and scientific description is one of the goals of the project.
The scientists have three years to complete their research. They received financing from the Polish National Science Centre and plan to spend it on purchasing specialized scientific equipment.