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Harvesting Low-Grade Heat via Thermal-Induced Electric Double Layer Redistribution of Nanoporous Graphene Films

Yang, Zhe, Dang, Fei, Zhang, Chen, Sun, Shuocheng, Zhao, Wei, Li, Ximeng, Liu, Yilun, Chen, Xi
Langmuir 2019 v.35 no.24 pp. 7713-7719
cold, electric potential difference, electric power, electrodes, electrolytes, encapsulation, graphene, harvesting, heat, nanopores, potassium chloride, temperature, thermal energy, thermoelectric generators
In this work, a closed thermoelectric cell based on a nanoporous graphene electrode is developed to convert low-grade thermal energy to electric energy. The thermoelectric cell consists of two nanoporous graphene electrodes in contact with the hot and cold ends, respectively, encapsulated in a KCl electrolyte, and the energy is harvested from the redistribution of the electric double layer (EDL) of the graphene electrodes under different temperatures. Because of the large specific surface and conductivity of nanoporous graphene electrodes, the electric voltage is 168.91 mV with the hot-end temperature of 61 °C and cold-end temperature of 26 °C, corresponding to the thermoelectric coefficient of 4.54 mV·°C–¹, which is much larger than that of the conventional thermoelectric generator. The specific power output achieves 1.38 mW·g–¹ and is also significantly larger than the previous EDL-based thermoelectric generator. System performance with the concentration of the KCl electrolyte is examined. The proposed thermoelectric cell can harvest low-grade waste heat from the ambient environment, which may have potential applications in energy supply, wireless powered devices, outdoor survival, and so forth.