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CUSAT Researcher Develops Lead Free Thermoelectric Device

In Education, Technology Updates
November 09, 2020

Sreeram P.R., a research scholar of Department of Physics, Cochin University of Science and Technology(CUSAT) has successfully synthesized a lead-free thermoelectric material based on rare earth manganites.

The finding is considered to be path-breaking as it is an embrace of green technology in converting heat energy into electrical energy. The present day technology
relies on semiconductor materials based on lead-telluride and bismuth telluride. Besides, the young researcher has also fabricated a thermoelectric device which works at room temperature for generating useful voltage/current from waste heat and cooling devices in low power mode.

The new device can be used to extract energy from automotive exhausts, factory chimneys and can even be used in miniaturized devices for use as small transducers. The raw material for this device is available in plenty in India and is considered a viable green alternative to lead-based thermoelectrics. Extensive laboratory tests have been conducted and the device is working satisfactorily. The researcher has also demonstrated a refrigerator based on the newly developed material.

Current cooling technologies are based on compressor and cooling gas. It requires more space and power and more time to cool. Thermoelectric refrigerator based coolers need less space, do not require cooling gas and cooling is fast. The devices can be employed for cooling in automotive seats or as heat sink in microminiaturized devices or mini drink coolers. According to Prof M.R. Anantharaman, UGC BSR Faculty Fellow of Department of Physics, under whose guideship Sreeram is conducting research for Ph.D, this is presumably the first report on a rare-earth based material which is free from lead. “The group is in possession of the knowhow to alter the material properties to tailor the performance for different operating temperatures.”(Ph:8075990590)