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A Review on Low-Grade Thermal Energy Harvesting: Materials, Methods and Devices

Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
Materials Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(8), 1433;
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Energy Harvesting and Storage Devices)
Combined rejected and naturally available heat constitute an enormous energy resource that remains mostly untapped. Thermal energy harvesting can provide a cost-effective and reliable way to convert available heat into mechanical motion or electricity. This extensive review analyzes the literature covering broad topical areas under solid-state low temperature thermal energy harvesting. These topics include thermoelectricity, pyroelectricity, thermomagneticity, and thermoelasticity. For each topical area, a detailed discussion is provided comprising of basic physics, working principle, performance characteristics, state-of-the-art materials, and current generation devices. Technical advancements reported in the literature are utilized to analyze the performance, identify the challenges, and provide guidance for material and mechanism selection. The review provides a detailed analysis of advantages and disadvantages of each energy harvesting mechanism, which will provide guidance towards designing a hybrid thermal energy harvester that can overcome various limitations of the individual mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric; pyroelectric; thermomagnetic; thermoelastic thermoelectric; pyroelectric; thermomagnetic; thermoelastic
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Kishore, R.A.; Priya, S. A Review on Low-Grade Thermal Energy Harvesting: Materials, Methods and Devices. Materials 2018, 11, 1433.

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