PRINTEG - Advanced manufacturing for low-cost Thermo-electric device fabrication

Principal investigator: Haixue YAN
Funding source(s): E.P.S.R.C.
 Start: 01-09-2013  /  End: 31-08-2015
 Amount: £131,616

For an automotive combustion engine only 35% of the energy produced is harnessed for motive power, with 65% of the  energy being effectively 'lost' to the environment - 25% of that lost energy is transferred into the exhaust gases. For a typical 100hp (75kW) engine, the waste heat energy is up to 50kW. As a result, automotive OEMS are looking to increase fuel efficiency through waste exhaust heat power recovery - one very attractive approach for this is the use of Thermo-
Electric Generators (TEGs). To date these approaches have been too expensive due to labour intensive material consolidation,machining and hand assembly. As the market for these TEGs grows, it is becoming clear that unless automated, cost-effective manufacturing technologies are developed then mass production will be exported to low-cost economies. The PRINTEG project will directly address this by developing advance automated technologies for: TE powder
handling and consolidation; Surface mounted pick and place and interconnect deposition and laser sintering. This will enable cost-effective manufacture in the UK to produce TEGs at a sales price of £490/kW. By achieving this, our consortium of research capable partners will not only safeguard TEG manufacture in the UK but will also commercialise the results of our existing Thermo-electric research activities that are already producing globally competitive materials and processes.