ZrCoBi-Based Half-Heusler Thermoelectric Material Converting Waste Heat to Energy
Thermoelectric materials are capable of converting waste heat into electricity. The dimensionless figure-of-merit (ZT), as the critical measure for the material’s thermoelectric performance, plays a decisive role in the energy conversion efficiency. Half-Heusler compounds possess robust mechanical properties and excellent thermal stabilities, and have been recently recognized as one of the most promising candidates for high temperature thermoelectric power generation; however, they have previously only shown relatively low ZTs compared to other material systems, until now…

University of Houston researchers have discovered ZrCoBi-based half-Heuslers with a record-high ZT of ∼1.42 at 973 K and a high thermoelectric conversion efficiency of ∼9% at the temperature difference of ∼500 K.
Applications
  • Thermoelectric energy generation
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy harvesting
Problems Addressed
  • Identification of a novel compound that simultaneously possesses a high band degeneracy (i.e., high power factor) in combination with an intrinsically low sound velocity (i.e., low thermal conductivity).
Competitive Advantages
  • Demonstrates that ZrCoBi-based half-Heuslers are promising candidates for high-temperature thermoelectric power generation.
  • Exceptionally high thermoelectric performance.
Patents
  • PCT Application Filed
Case ID
2018-055
Inventor
Dr. Zhifeng Ren
M.D. Anderson Chair Professor, Department of Physics