MAE Seminar: Thermoelectric Energy Conversion - Materials, Manufacturing and Systems

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Yanliang Zhang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
Boise State University

Abstract: Thermoelectric devices are solid-state energy converters from heat to electricity or vice versa. Thermoelectrics have broad applications in energy harvesting, power generation and thermal management. High-efficiency thermoelectric energy conversion systems require improvements of intrinsic materials efficiency as well as advancements in system design and manufacturing.

This presentation will cover three important topics of thermoelectrics - materials, manufacturing and systems. First, I will present our recent progress on nanostructured thermoelectric materials that have led to significant increases in thermoelectric figure of merit ZT. Second, I will talk about additive manufacturing of flexible thermoelectric materials and devices. Finally, this talk will introduce the design and fabrication of high-performance thermoelectric generator systems for energy harvesting and micro-combined heat and power applications.

The above research breakthroughs have created a new class of sustainable energy technology for automotive, industrial, residential and personal energy harvesting and thermal management applications.

Bio: Yanliang Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Boise State University. Zhang spent over one year in industry after he completed a doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2011. During his career in industry, Zhang was the principle investigator for several significant research projects, including an $11 million DOE-funded project on automotive waste heat recovery. Since Zhang joined Boise State University in 2013, he has received multiple funding awards from both government and industry. Zhang’s research work has been published in high-impact journals, including Nature Materials, Nano Letters, Applied Physics Letters, etc., and has received 450 citations in less than five years.