ChEMS Seminar: Recent Progress of Thermoelectric Materials and their Application in China

Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room, EH 2430
Qingjie Zhang

President, Wuhan University of Technology
Director, State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing
Wuhan, China

Abstract: This lecture presents recent progress of the research activities on thermoelectric (TE) materials and their applications in China, focusing mainly on the R&D activities in the group of National Basic Research Program (973 Program), National High Technology Research and Development Program (863 Program), and Major International Cooperation Projects. The group studies the electric and thermal transport mechanism of TE materials, the ultra-fast preparation of high-performance TE materials, and the key technology of TE applications in solar energy power generation and automotive exhaust waste heat recovery. As a leading TE research group in China, we have recently made four important advances as follows: (1) discovering the multilocal effects coexistence mechanism of electric and thermal transport on the atomic and molecular scale and the dependent relation between microstructures and TE performance on the nanometer and mesoscopic scale in filled skutterudites that provides new approaches to simultaneously optimize the electrical and thermal properties of TE materials in an independent way; (2) exploring a novel self-propagating high-temperature synthesis technology that can realize the large-scale ultra-fast preparation of high-performance TE materials in less than one minute; (3) developing the solar energy photovoltaic (PV)-TE hybrid-power generation technology that has been applied to  build a 5 kW solar energy PV-TE hybrid-power generation system and a 100 kW solar energy PV-TE hybrid-power generation demonstration power station in western China; (4) building an automotive waste heat TE power generation demonstration vehicle that can recover about 1000 W of electrical energy from the automotive exhaust.

Bio: Professor Qingjie Zhang is the president of WUT, director of State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing, as well as chief scientist of National 973 Program in the field of thermoelectric materials. Zhang’s research is focused on inorganic non-metallic materials and composites with special functionality including thermoelectric materials, conductive ceramic and intelligent composite materials. Among his many accomplishments, he proposed a synergistic effect of decoupling the transport of electrons and phonons, a model for thermoelectric-photovoltaic hybrid-power generation, a model with multi-field coupling among heat, electricity and mechanics, and non-equilibrium rapid preparation. He developed new materials that have been utilized as key in the area of new energy technology and for national defense, i.e., thermoelectric-photovoltaic hybrid-power generation with a full spectrum solar energy and industrial waste heat recycling via thermoelectric technology. Due to his important contributions, Zhang has been awarded numerous national prizes including three National Awards for Technological Invention and one National Natural Science Award. He has published more than 240 Science Citation Index peer-reviewed papers in Nature Nanotech., Nature Commun., J. Am. Chem. Soc., Phys. Rev. Lett., Nano Lett., Adv. Mater., Adv Funct. Mater., etc. Zhang has also produced several articles on higher education reform, including his monograph The University Ideology with Light of Wisdom-, which was published by China Higher Education Press in 2015.

Host: Professor Julie Schoenung

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