Researchers from the Northwestern and Michigan universities in the United States, under the instructions and supervision of a Greek-American professor of Chemistry, Merkouri G. Kanatzidis, have managed to create a high efficiency thermoelectric material, the world’s best.
The entrepreneurial products achieves simultaneously high electronic conductivity, high thermo-power and low thermal conductivity. The Kanatzidis group defined the thermoelectric figure of merit ZT at 2.2 points while every other thermolectic material has been at 1.6 through 1.8 points until recently.
The importance of the achievement becomes clearer taking into consideration that almost two-thirds of the total amount of energy needed by the electric devices so that they function properly (PCs, lights etc) gets rejected. The team’s thermoelectric material broke the world record of the best thermoelectric material and can be used in the industry field in the future as well to increase business revenues.
The material is likely to be applied in the car production industry by improving petroleum efficiency, and in several other types of industry as well. NASA researchers have used a similar thermoelectric material for the Curiosity rover which has been sent to Mars but of a lesser efficiency than created by Kanatzidis and his team.