A team of researchers led by Professor Krzysztof Wojciechowski from the Faculty of Materials Engineering and Ceramics at the AGH University of Science and Technology (AGH) in Krakow, in collaboration with scientists from the Łukasiewicz Research Network and the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, has developed and manufactured prototype thermoelectric modules with power densities approaching 2.5 kW/m2.
The researchers declare that they have significantly reduced the cost of the modules compared to commercial equivalents. They achieved this by, among other things, replacing the ceramic cladding with less expensive and much more thermally conductive aluminium alloys. As they point out, aluminium alloys are also more easily mouldable than ceramics, allowing modules of almost any shape to be constructed to suit a given heat recovery system.
According to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the researchers are currently looking for an investor to build a prototype production line. Prof. Wojciechowski points out that companies producing or developing thermoelectric technology today exist only in China, the USA, Ukraine and Russia, while “there is virtually no competition on the European market”.