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IQE’s Wafer Technology Division to Lead £2M 4” GaSb Thermo-Photovoltaic (TPV) Project

IQE plc’ wafer operation, Wafer Technology Ltd., will lead a £2-million (US$2.85-million) collaborative effort to develop highly efficient thermo-photovoltaic (TPV) cells for electricity generation from waste heat from industrial processes.

TPV devices convert heat into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells, but operate at infrared rather than visible wavelengths, generating electricity directly from high waste heat, such as from a blast furnace.

The project aims to realize novel low bandgap TPV devices based on alloys including InAsSb and InGaSbN lattice matched to GaSb substrates. Such cells will exhibit significantly higher efficiencies than existing devices and will more effectively generate electricity from waste heat sources at temperatures below 1,000 ºC.

Wafer Technology’s contribution will be to extend their GaSb substrate technology to 4” diameter. Lancaster and QinetiQ will undertake epitaxial growth studies of these novel narrow gap alloys and QinetiQ will also fabricate the devices. Prototype TPV systems will be validated by two further industrial partners to assess their performance in real industrial processes and environments.

The £2M project has been awarded by the Technology Strategy Board. Wafer Technology will lead a consortium of partners including Lancaster University and QinetiQ.

IQE is a leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and wafer services to the semiconductor industry.



Who in their right mind would call a thermal stream at 1,000oC "waste heat"!?

Even if I did I'd be straight in there with an Organic Rankine cycle generator for energy recovery (or possibly even steam)!


If you're e.g. cooling hot-rolled steel at the proper rate for heat-treatment, you may not be able to transfer the heat to a working fluid; you may need a cold environment to get the correct cooling rate.  The TPV can do that while converting IR radiation to power.

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